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5G RedCap Release in R17

Release 17 introduces the necessary changes to the 5G specifications to support devices with reduced capabilities. Examples include the following:

• The use of reduced bandwidth of 20 MHz with implications in the bandwidth part (BWP)
configurations both in downlink (DL) and uplink (UL).
• Support for devices with a single transmitter and receiver branch.
• Support for one DL layer and one UL layer.

The initial deployments of RedCap devices will be on a single connection, which NR can support with frequency range 1 (FR1) and frequency range 2 (FR2) standalone deployments.

Release 17 also supports half-duplex frequency division duplex (FDD), a transmission mode that can significantly impact device cost. There are, however, some drawbacks. With half-duplex FDD, the device will not detect scheduling information for DL and UL in the same set of symbols.

The device cannot monitor DL messages while configured in UL mode and will not be able to send uplink control information while monitoring DL. In case of conflict, the device can decide what to do based on its implementation, but it will not be able to do both transmission and reception simultaneously.

The simpler specs of RedCap allow device makers to remove components, reducing the final device cost. For a successful IoT product launch, every cent counts.  the Table summarizes key cost-reduction simplifications in the initial RedCap devices and the potential benefits and trade-offs.

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