Samsung Networks teamed with MediaTek to test 5G reduced capability (RedCap) over virtualised RAN (vRAN), a move the vendor pitched as demonstrating the technology’s potential to boost IoT device energy efficiency.

Eun Yong Kim, VP, head of air technology, networks business at Samsung Electronics, stated in a blog the test was conducted at Samsung’s R&D lab in South Korea. It used Samsung’s vRAN 3.0 software, open RAN compliant radio and MediaTek’s RedCap test platform equipped with its M60 modem.

Standards body 3GPP introduced RedCap, or NR-Light, in its Release-17 standard to enable a wider range of low power devices, such as IoT sensors, on 5G networks.

The test by Samsung and MediaTek focused on two energy-saving features, Paging Early Indication (PEI) and extended Discontinuous Reception (eDRX). He stated it is the first time both have been tested in a vRAN environment.

Kim explained PEI notifies a device in advance about the presence or absence of paging signals, which reduces the number of times they need to “wake up” monitoring.

He noted this capability resulted in less energy being consumed by the device due to it staying in low-power mode for extended periods.

Kim stated eDRX enables a device to enter sleep mode for longer durations, up to three hours in some cases, by increasing the monitoring cycle.

“By extending the monitoring cycle of the device, eDRX further contributes to the device’s energy efficiency and battery life,” he noted.

Kim quoted Mobile Experts chief analyst Joe Madden, who stated the test “marks an important step toward the necessary interoperability” of RedCap.

Kim stated Samsung’s RedCap technology will become commercially available this year across both traditional RAN and vRAN “with plans to apply to Tier 1 operators’ networks”.