A Fistful of Standards: Asking What NR-RedCap Is For and Why It Is Needed

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By Jamie Moss | 1Q 2021 | IN-6110


A New 5G Category for the IoT


Long-Term Evolution Machine-Type Communication (LTE-M, aka Cat.M) and Narrowband-Internet of Things (NB-IoT) were confirmed as 5G cellular Low-Power Wide-Area (LPWA) standards by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) and the GSMA in mid-2018. LTE-M and NB-IoT were standardized in 3GPP Release 13, before 5G New Radio (5G NR) was standardized in Release 15, but have now been incorporated into 5G. Coming at the tail end of the LTE standardization process, the unrealized potential for LTE-M and NB-IoT needed to be protected, as both technologies are only just gaining meaningful adoption. IoT network technologies must be guaranteed to be supported by carriers for decades to come to secure customer confidence in them, as IoT deployments must be assumed to need to persist without human intervention to upgrade or replace them for the duration of their operational life.

ABI Research determined that 75 million LTE-M and NB-IoT modules were shipped in 2020. The IoT is a market of organic growth, driven by business needs to solve practical problems, and not by mere hype for the latest tech…

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