Qualcomm has introduced the company’s first 5G modem with download capabilities reaching 5Gbps. The modem was briefed in whole at Qualcomm’s own 4G/5G Summit in Hong Kong. The new chip is expected to have limited release in 2017 and have more mainstream integration throughout 2018. Major carriers are currently doing testing of 5G networks but launch details have not been finalized.
Qualcomm has labeled the new 5G modem as the Snapdragon X50 5G. It’s designed to be cross compatible with 4G/LTE networks for full backwards compatibility and fits within the 3GPP 5G New Radio standard. The new modem relies on multi-element antenna arrays to reach wide bandwidth connectivity in the 28GHz millimeter wave band. This allows for dynamic wireless applications and wireless speeds that were not possible before.
The Snapdragon X50 5G modem also has integrated technologies that allow it to direct energy off of obstacles in situations where there is no line of sight to a cell tower. This should help alleviate dead spots in large buildings and inner-city areas that may normally be prone to connectivity issues. Qualcomm also states that businesses and homes can use 5G technologies as a replacement to fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) solutions.
Qualcomm is a major player in mobile Android devices, supporting over 65% of the LTE chipset market and often at the forefront of new mobile technologies including main CPU designs as well as fingerprint sensors. New applications with high speed internet capabilities have already been imagined by the likes of T-Mobile and AT&T publicly. 5G will be the technology to push us to a more integrated, living network will offer true high-speed broadband at our fingertips.