Modem crams early 5G technology into a chipset

October 18, 2016 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Claiming to be the first company to announce a commercial 5G modem chipset, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., (QTI) has announced the Qualcomm Snapdragon X50, which is designed to support original equipment manufacturers (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 Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (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 5G modem is designed to support peak download speeds of up to 5 gigabits per second.

Designed to be used for multi-mode 4G/5G mobile broadband, as well as fixed wireless broadband devices, the Snapdragon X50 5G modem 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, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

With the Snapdragon X50 5G modem, operators deploying mmWave 5G networks can now work closely with QTI to conduct lab tests, field trials and early network deployments. Additionally, OEMs utilizing the Snapdragon X50 5G modem will have an opportunity to gain an early start in optimizing their devices for the unique challenges associated with integrating mmWave. Incorporating the Snapdragon X50 5G modem in devices on a live 5G network can yield valuable insight into the challenges of integrating emerging technologies in form-factor accurate devices. QTI will utilize these insights to help accelerate the standardization and commercialization of 5G New Radio (NR), the global standard for 5G.