Balancing Act: How RedCap Simplifies the Shift from 5G NSA to SA

What if you’re ready to move away from NSA, but not quite ready to dive head-first into SA?

Celebrating Mediocrity
3 min readMay 14


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If you’re a Mobile Network Operator (MNO), you’re probably already well-versed in the world of 5G and its two major forms: Non-Standalone (NSA) and Standalone (SA). But there’s a third option!

NSA is like a half-step into the 5G world — it uses existing 4G infrastructure to help provide 5G speeds. On the other hand, SA is the full deal: pure, unadulterated 5G, with all the bells and whistles like super-fast data speeds and ultra-low latency.

So why not just jump straight into SA? Because it requires an overhaul of the existing core network infrastructure. In other words, it’s a lot of time, effort and money.

But, what if you’re ready to move away from NSA, but not quite ready to dive head-first into SA? Enter “RedCap” or Reduced Capability.

RedCap is like the middle ground between NSA and SA. It’s the perfect choice for MNOs who are ready to dip their toes into the 5G SA world, but aren’t quite ready for the full plunge. It offers a way to introduce 5G SA capabilities into your network, without the need for a complete infrastructure overhaul.

In the 5G universe, there’s a whole slew of potential applications, from self-driving cars to complex industrial automation. Some of these require all the high-powered features of 5G Standalone networks, like ultra-low latency and super-fast data speeds. But others? Not so much.

Think of things like smart meters or certain types of IoT devices. These applications require connectivity, sure, but they don’t need all the fancy features of a full-blown 5G SA network. They’re simpler, with reduced capabilities. And that’s exactly where RedCap comes in.

RedCap stands for “Reduced Capability”. It’s a type of 5G connection that’s designed specifically for these simpler applications. It doesn’t offer all the features of a full 5G SA network. Instead, it provides a subset of 5G capabilities, focusing on the essentials like reliable connectivity and decent data speeds.



Celebrating Mediocrity

Talkative. Easy-goer. Globetrotter. Quixotic. Polemic. Mind-changer. Tea Drinker. Nerd.