Recently, China Unicom Guangdong, together with Huawei and TD Tech, completed the world's first RedCap commercial DTU (Data Transfer Unit) test in the 5G Innovation Lab of China Unicom Guangdong Branch. This test verifies the availability, reliability, and network collaboration capability of the RedCap DTU according to the requirements from real commercial application scenarios. #Sponsored

November 3, 2023

6 Min Read

Recently, China Unicom Guangdong, together with Huawei and TD Tech, completed the world's first RedCap commercial DTU (Data Transfer Unit) test in the 5G Innovation Lab of China Unicom Guangdong Branch. This test verifies the availability, reliability, and network collaboration capability of the RedCap DTU according to the requirements from real commercial application scenarios. With the 5G RedCap network access test certificate successfully issued, the RedCap industry chain is about to enter a new stage of large-scale commercial use in industry since the 3GPP R17 standard freeze in June 2022.

The first RedCap DTU certified in China Unicom Guangdong

The First 5G RedCap DTU

Although 5G has been put into commercial use for years, the IoT market is still dominated by 4G technologies such as NB-IoT and Cat.1 and Cat.4. The reason is that 5G focuses on eMBB scenarios in the early stage. Although 5G has strong capabilities, it has high terminal costs and high power consumption, which is not conducive to large-scale application in the industry market. With capability reduced, RedCap not only has the performance advantages of 5G NR, but also reduces the terminal rate according to industry application requirements, thereby reducing chip costs and power consumption and laying a foundation for large-scale commercial use of 5G in the industry.

It is introduced that this test has verified the hard restart, soft restart access, APN configuration, handover, peak rate, stability, delay, and network parameter reporting of the RedCap DTU terminal in the 900 MHz, 2.1 GHz, and 3.5 GHz frequency bands. The assessment results are conformed to the given standards as expected. This means that the TD Tech 5G industrial DTU can be deployed in the 5G private networks in large scale. This 5G industrial DTU is designed following 3GPP R17 standards, supports VPN functions such as IPSec and L2TP, provides Ethernet interfaces, RS485, RS232, and USB interfaces, and supports a rate of 226 Mbps/120 Mbps and high-precision with B code timing. In addition, it is designed conforming to the IP40 protection standard and an operating temperature of -20°C to 75°C, meeting diversified connection requirements in industrial scenarios.

Through the evaluation, the TD Tech 5G industrial DTU not only perfectly meets various KPI requirements of RedCap, but also is compact and can be integrated into industrial equipment such as AGV vehicles, patrol vehicles, and robots. So it can be widely used in multiple industry scenarios. For example, the 5G fully connected factory has a great demand for AGV vehicles used in automated logistics. This compact DTU product based on the R17 standard will be able to demonstrate its value.

It is reported that the TD Tech 5G industrial DTU has recently started mass production to support the large-scale commercial use of RedCap in smart manufacturing and digital grid scenarios.

Guangdong Unicom's 5G Innovation Lab

In cooperation with China Unicom OpenLab and Huawei OpenLab, Guangdong Unicom's 5G Innovation Lab is responsible for network assessment certification of 5G RedCap commercial terminals under the framework of the 5G RedCap Joint Innovation HUB, which is setup by China Unicom Guangdong, Huawei and TD Tech to promote the end to end commercial use of 5G RedCap in industry.

Network Assessment Performed in Guangdong Unicom's 5G Innovation Lab

Founded in 2016, Guangdong Unicom’s 5G Innovation Lab is one of the sub-centers under China Unicom's open lab system and one of China's 5G AIA certification institutions. The lab has more than 1000 square meters of infield test space, which is divided into network product development zone, network product commissioning zone, and product exhibition zone. An independent 5G SA end-to-end network environment is deployed in the lab. Equipped with signal generators, spectrum analyzers, power analyzers, and high and low temperature boxes, it has a 5G private network R&D and testing team of more than 50 people, which can provide an environment for technical research, joint innovation and service commissioning of 5G industry customers and partners.

The 5G innovation lab of Guangdong Unicom will be opened to all industry partners, who are encouraged to build 5G RedCap benchmark product and projects, and to explore more applications with real application scenarios in medium- and high-speed IoT scenarios together.

RedCap, the Key Enabler of 5G IoT "10 Billion Connections"

RedCap's commercial use is driven by the IoT (Internet of Things). China has achieved "Connected Things more than Connected People" last year. By the end of June this year, cellular IoT users had reached 2.12 billion, accounting for more than 55% of mobile connections. China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT) predicts that by 2030, the number of Mobile IoT connections in China will reach 10 billion. RedCap is the key to help achieve this goal and increase the value of connectivity.

Operators, module and device manufacturers have taken the action. China Unicom Guangdong and Huawei took the lead in completing the end-to-end verification of RedCap on the full-band commercial network. RedCap has already a wide range of commercial terminal products, which simplifies bandwidth, antenna quantity, baseband, and radio frequency, and enables industry users to enjoy 5G technology at lower costs. Taking TD Tech 5G Industrial DTU as an example, this terminal has only two 5G antennas, which will greatly expand the application scenarios of 5G and promote the development of IoT to connect everything.

Of course, RedCap is still in the early stage of the industry and has a lot of work to do, which needs to go the way IoT technologies such as NB-IoT and LTE Cat.1 have gone — to meet the challenge of technology, customer requirements, and business models etc. with innovative solutions. Finally, more and more players in the industry chain will actively recognize the business potential of RedCap and participate into the process. To accelerate this commercial process, the 5G RedCap Joint Innovation Hub has already attracted a large number of leading enterprises in the Greater Bay Area to involve.

"When we help enterprises with digital transformation, many of them complain to us that 5G terminals are too expensive, which makes it difficult for 5G to enter the industry on a large scale. It also severely limits the power of 5G network. So, when 3GPP R17 released RedCap last year, we believe it as the key solution in achieving large-scale deployment of 5G industry applications." said Pan Guixin, Chief Innovation Officer of Guangdong Unicom.

"We hope to work with the network side to provide advantages in medium- and high-speed IoT capabilities. At the same time, we continue to integrate with the industry to discover and verify high-value scenarios, so that the industry can truly use the RedCap connection capability. Only in this way can the value of connectivity be unleashed and the digital transformation of the industry be truly driven. "said Ma Tao, president of TD Tech China.

Vertical enterprises also welcome RedCap. With the acceleration of digital transformation, there are increasing requirements for medium- and high-speed IoT, such as data collection, intelligent video, AGV and PLC/SCADA control. RedCap has reached the critical moment of commercial use. Driven by industry partners such as China Unicom Guangdong, Huawei and TD Tech, RedCap is expected to become the mainstream in the IoT industry in the next few years.

Subscribe and receive the latest news from the industry.
Join 62,000+ members. Yes it's completely free.

You May Also Like