Qualcomm unveils 5G modem, with bonus 1-Gbps LTE device and network

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Qualcomm has unveiled its first commercial 5G modem chipset solution, and has announced activities with Telstra, Ericsson and Netgear to develop the world’s first “Gigabit Class” LTE mobile device and a commercially ready network to support it.

5G first: the Snapdragon X50 5G modem is designed to support OEMs that are building the next generation of cellular devices, as well as aid operators with early 5G trials and deployments.

The Snapdragon X50 5G modem will initially support operation in millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum in the 28-GHz band.  It will employ MIMO antenna technology with adaptive beamforming and beam tracking techniques, which facilitates robust and sustained mobile broadband communications in non-line-of-sight (NLOS) environments.  With 800-MHz bandwidth support, the Snapdragon X50 is designed to support peak download speeds of up to 5 Gbps.

Designed to be used for multi-mode 4G/5G mobile broadband, as well as fixed wireless broadband devices, the Snapdragon X50 can be paired with a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor with an integrated Gigabit LTE modem and interwork cohesively via dual-connectivity. Gigabit LTE will become an essential pillar for the 5G mobile experience, as it can provide a wide coverage layer for nascent 5G networks.

“The Snapdragon X50 5G modem heralds the arrival of 5G as operators and OEMs reach the cellular network and device testing phase,” said Cristiano Amon, executive vice president of Qualcomm Technologies and president of QCT. “Utilizing our long history of LTE and Wi-Fi leadership, we are thrilled to deliver a product that will help play a critical role in bringing 5G devices and networks to reality.”

The Snapdragon X50 5G platform will include the modem, the SDR051 mmWave transceivers, and the supporting PMX50 power management chip. Sampling for the Snapdragon X50 5G modem is expected to begin in the second half of 2017. The first commercial products that will integrate the Snapdragon X50 5G modem are expected to be available during the first half of 2018.

On the gigabit LTE front, Qualcomm announced that its subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies, has worked closely with Telstra, Ericsson and Netgear on what it’s billing as the world’s first “Gigabit Class” LTE mobile device, and the first Gigabit Class LTE commercially ready network.

The device in question is the Netgear Mobile Router MR1100 – based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 LTE modem along with Qualcomm Wi-Fi solutions, which is the first consumer end device capable of reaching download speeds up to 1 Gbps – while the network is Telstra’s new gigabit LTE network using key network infrastructure equipment and software from Ericsson.

With delivery of the final Netgear Mobile router design, Telstra will now complete comprehensive device, network and user testing ahead of commercial launch in the coming months.

“Achieving the world’s first Gigabit Class LTE download speeds between a mobile device and commercial ready network is another industry achievement towards the availability of Gigabit LTE services,” said Serge Willenegger, senior vice president of Qualcomm Technologies. “We’re excited to celebrate this milestone with our partners and to demonstrate our leadership in the commercialization of key technologies that will be foundational elements of future 5G deployments.”

Netgear has worked with Qualcomm Technologies to integrate the Snapdragon X16 LTE modem – announced at Qualcomm’s annual Analyst Day in February this year, and is coupled with Qualcomm Wi-Fi solutions to offer Gigabit-level performance – into the new Netgear Mobile Router MR1100.

Gigabit LTE download speeds are achieved through a combination of 3x carrier aggregation, 4×4 MIMO on two aggregated carriers plus 2×2 MIMO on the third carrier, and 256-QAM higher order modulation. The arrival of gigabit LTE download speeds can help OEMs create a new class of mobile devices that can deliver fiber-like download speeds wirelessly, exciting consumers and expanding opportunities for new experiences and revenue streams.

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