URLLC, for short, aims to bring advanced wireless connectivity to robots, drones, and other technologies on the cusp of mainstream adoption. It is expected to become a key wireless solution in areas including industrial automation, smart factories, and telemedicine.
URLLC is one of three primary 5G service categories:
- Enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) — The latest generation of cellular capabilities beyond 4G and LTE. These services, which promise lower latency—lower data delays—and faster downloads than their predecessors, are already widely available and used by millions worldwide.
- Massive machine-type communications (mMTC) — Poised to support billions of sensors and devices, for potential use managing warehouse inventory, vehicle fleets, and more. It may be several years before mMTC services, still in development, become generally available.
- Ultra-reliable, low-latency communications (URLLC) — Has the potential to provide up to 99.999% reliability, with latency measured in single-digit milliseconds, depending on use case requirements. It’s an emerging service for “critical IoT,” where devices requiring highly responsive connectivity may be spread over wide geographic areas.
Over the next few years, URLLC may become the sweet spot for many 5G-enabled use cases.
For example, as URLLC evolves, its high reliability and low latency could potentially be well suited to Halo’s driverless car service, which was launched last year in Las Vegas running on the T-Mobile 5G network. Halo’s electric vehicles are operated remotely over the 5G network by trained in-house drivers.
“Driverless vehicles require a network with high capacity, broad coverage and low latency, making T-Mobile 5G a perfect match for developers such as Halo,” said John Saw, Executive VP of Advanced & Emerging Technologies at T-Mobile.