One of the biggest promises of 5G technology is not just faster performance, but the ability to power a far more connected world – a global network where every device can go online from almost anywhere.
That’s the vision behind MediaTek’s new M60 5G modem and T300 chip, which aim to be small and efficient enough to bring 5G to wearables, Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices, and other electronics that need reliable Internet connectivity. Benefit, but no. This requires the enormous speed and bandwidth of modern laptops and smartphones.
Less capacity for more efficiency
MediaTek’s new 5G modem uses the new 3GPP “REDCAP” standard, short for reduced capacity. Also known as 5G NR-Lite, RedCap chips are designed to provide the benefits of 5G, such as low latency and widespread connectivity, without the power requirements of more traditional high-bandwidth 5G chips.
The tradeoff is that you don’t get the eye-watering 5G speeds offered by ultrafast mmWave and aggregated sub-6 technologies. However, RedCap is designed to cater to a wide range of consumer and industrial devices that do not need to send and receive massive amounts of data that would require high-speed 5G connections.
Instead, the MediaTek M60 is targeted at devices such as smartwatches, lightweight augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) headsets, IoT devices, and industrial sensors. All of these devices benefit from ubiquitous connectivity, but they suck up data compared to other connected devices like smartphones and tablets, and they don’t have power to spare.
This is where MediaTek’s Redcap chips make a big difference. The M60 modem and MediaTek T300 chip form the world’s first 6nm radio frequency system-on-chip (RFSOC) single die REDCAP chip, allowing smaller size and greater power efficiency.
Using a single-core Arm Cortex-A35 in a compact design, the chip can handle download speeds of up to 227Mbps and upload speeds of up to 122Mbps – and all while consuming 70% less power thanks to MediaTek’s UltraSave 4.0 technology It does this.
More importantly, the new 5G Redcap chips are so small and efficient that MediaTek hopes to encourage manufacturers to move away from older 4G/LTE technologies and fully embrace 5G connectivity.
“Our RedCap solutions are a critical part of our mission to democratize 5G, providing our customers the ability to customize components and deliver 5G-enabled devices across a range of applications and at a range of price points,” Jesse Hsu, corporate senior vice president of MediaTek, said in a press release. “The migration to 5G Redcap will replace legacy 4G/LTE solutions, providing significantly better power efficiency and a more reliable user experience compared to leading 5G eMMB modem solutions and legacy 4G LTE Cat 4 and Cat 6 devices.”
MediaTek plans to send its first T300 series devices out for sampling early next year, where it hopes they will find their way into the first commercial products by the end of 2024.