New 5G Feature Enables Lower Latency and Increased Battery Life
Ericsson and Telia have joined forces with Qualcomm to take 5G innovation to a new level by jointly testing a new industry-first feature in Telia’s commercial 5G network. This adds to Telia and Ericsson’s 5G alliance with the purpose to enable better 5G for both smartphone users and advanced and emerging 5G use cases for consumers and enterprises.
This new 5G Standalone feature, the inactive state of Radio Resource Control (RRC Inactive), reduces the amount of signaling required during state transitions, making it possible to significantly lower both latency and battery consumption, which are crucial requirements for many IoT and 5G use cases, including critical control of remote devices, enhanced mobile broadband, and smart transport. RRC Inactive was implemented using Ericsson’s software and 5G Standalone network nodes and a test device powered by the Snapdragon X60 Modem-RF System.
The companies were able to demonstrate the successful transition between a connected state and inactive state without the device falling back to idle. The transition to this new inactive state reduces the amount of signaling required during state transitions, significantly lowering latency for the end user, as was seen in this test where the access latency was shortened by up to 3x. This shortened time lag will have a big impact in user experience in applications such as cloud gaming where fast multi-player interactions require 20-30ms end-to-end latency. For an immersive VR gaming experience, the latency and reliability requirements are even more demanding.
Since the shorter latency with this feature makes it possible to reduce the inactivity timer, the partners were also able to see battery savings of up to 30 percent for the modem compared to not activating the feature. While the screen and its associated electronics are the most power-consuming components in a mobile device, implementing the feature will result in a longer battery life for a 5G smart phone user, too.
The development of the inactive state has largely been driven by the growing field of Machine-type Communication (MTC). This is part of 3GPP standardization where Ericsson has had a leading role in defining the functionalities. In most MTC scenarios, the amount of data that wireless devices typically exchange with the network is small and usually not urgent enough to justify the high battery consumption required to handle all the signaling involved in the legacy idle-to-connected transition. For current and future 5G use cases with a large and growing number of devices, improved connection, state, and mobility handling have been identified as key elements of efficient support.