Qualcomm fires up the world’s first standalone 5G mmWave connection, and it’s a big deal

Today at its 5G Summit in San Diego, Calif., Qualcomm announced that it has reached an important milestone in the evolution of 5G wireless network connectivity and the future of wireless broadband services everywhere. Powered by the company’s new Snapdragon X70 5G modem-RF system which was recently announced at Mobile World Congress in February, Qualcomm introduced the world’s first 5G Standalone mmWave (Millimeter Wave) connection, with peak download speeds of 10 Gbps (Gigabit per second). However, this announcement was significant in many other ways, beyond glorious glorious wireless network bandwidth and 8.3 Gbps (gigabit per second) speeds.

standalone mmWave and why it’s a game changer

Standalone mmWave 5G is a fairly simple technology in terms of its namesake, but achieving this feat was anything but trivial. 5G mmWave operates on much higher cellular network frequency bands, in the 24 GHz spectrum and above. Although it does not have the same long range as sub-6 GHz spectrum cellular technology and requires a denser distribution of cellular base stations and specialized antenna tuning, due to penetration and loss blocking buildings, foliage, and other potential obstacles, it offers massive multi-gigabit bandwidth, lower latency, and capacity advantages over sub-6GHz 5G technology.

In terms of achieving Qualcomm Standalone mmWave today, however, the market impact could be even greater. Autonomous 5G mmWave deployments will co-exist with traditional non-autonomous (NSA) mmWave and sub-6 5G networks for some time, but 5G mmWave autonomous technology will allow carriers to deploy high-bandwidth 5G mmWave networks and devices that support them. use in stand-alone mode, without requiring spectrum anchoring below 6 GHz. In short, it gives carriers and wireless carriers much more flexibility to not only deploy 5G mmWave services in more areas, but also wireless fiber broadband access.

And in my opinion, wireless fiber broadband access is a game-changer in many ways. In a nutshell, Wireless Fiber Broadband uses existing high-speed gigabit fiber networks, such as Verizon Fios for example, for backhaul network communication to central office (CO), while 5G Standalone mmWave networks will provide the “last mile” or critical leap. to a residential or commercial broadband customer. The term last mile is an understatement of the bygone days of high-speed networking, as previously getting high-speed fiber connectivity to the home was a major problem that needed to be solved. These days fiber optic broadband operators struggle to achieve that quarter or even tenth of a mile of fiber optic reach for a customer, but that’s where 5G Standalone mmWave comes to the rescue. 5G standalone mmWave base stations and 5G wireless access points at the customer’s premises will offer multi-gigabit wireless connections (Wi-Fi and cellular), for that critical last hop that otherwise might not have never been done.

Deployment will take some time, but as wireless fiber broadband carriers begin to roll out services in underserved rural and suburban areas, or in areas where there is little competition for incumbent carriers, a new competitive landscape will emerge with new business models. , use cases and opportunities. “Snapdragon X70 gives carriers the ability to deliver extreme 5G capacity, multi-Gigabit data speeds, and new use cases on everything from smartphones to laptops to wireless access equipment. stationary, industrial machinery, etc.” said Durga Malladi, SVP and General Manager, Cellular Modems and Infrastructure, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

New Smart Transmit 3.0 and 5G carrier aggregation features

Another feature of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X70 Modem-RF system is something called Smart Transmit 3.0. The technology uses a modem-to-antenna awareness system that optimizes uplink speeds when a client device needs them, but also conserves energy and maintains compliance with RF power transmission limits, according to needs. So when you need that fast speed to download a video or image, it’s there, but when it’s not needed, the radio transmission is dynamically optimized so energy can be conserved, allowing also to maintain consistent and reliable network performance. Finally, Qualcomm now also integrates dynamic Smart Transmit optimization for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radio connectivity, in conjunction with related Qualcomm FastConnect chipset technologies.

Some additional announcements at Qualcomm 5G Summit Today we discussed further AI-enhanced adaptive antenna tuning and channel state feedback optimization, as well as mmWave beamforming and network selection based on AI, to improve the 5G performance of its new Snapdragon X70 modem-RF system. The company also showcased sub-6GHz 5G carrier aggregation across three Time Division Duplex operator (TDD) channels – used in dense 5G deployments, delivering peak download speeds of up to 6Gbps. Sub-6 carrier aggregation is going to be critical in areas where cellular carriers want to serve customers with multi-gigabit speeds, even if they are far from the cellular base station, such as in rural or suburban areas. stretches.

All in all, it looks like Qualcomm is continuing its tradition of innovation in 5G deployment with its new Snapdragon X70 5G Modem-RF system and the various demos shown at its 5G Summit in sunny San Diego. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X70 is currently being sampled with customers, with commercial mobile devices based on the Snapdragon X70 expected to arrive by the end of 2022. However, 5G network services like broadband access via wireless fiber will likely take years to deploy, although the wheels are definitely in motion.

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