Meet Qualcomm’s first 5G modem, the Snapdragon X50
HONG KONG — Qualcomm today announced it is taking a learn-by-doing approach in developing a 5G modem, the Qualcomm Snapdragon X50. It is designed to support equipment manufacturers that are building the next generation of cellular devices, as well as operators with early 5G trials and deployments. The Snapdragon X50 5G modem will initially support operation in millimeter wave (mm wave) spectrum in the 28GHz band.
It will employ Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) antenna technology with adaptive beamforming and beam tracking techniques, which are designed to provide more robust mobile broadband communications in non-line-of-sight (NLOS) environments. With 800 MHz bandwidth support, the Snapdragon X50 modem is designed to support peak download speeds of up to 5 gigabits per second.
It is crucially created 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.
“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 at QTI and president of Qualcomm CDMA Technologies. “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. This shows that we’re not just talking about 5G, we’re truly committed to it.”
The release of the Snapdragon X50 will allow operators deploying mm wave 5G networks to work closely with QTI to conduct lab tests, field trials and early network deployments. Qualcomm claims OEMs utilizing the Snapdragon X50 5G modem will gain an early start in optimizing their devices to take on the challenges associated with integrating mm wave, like limited range and poor penetration. Qualcomm says incorporating the 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 use these insights to help accelerate the standardization and commercialization of 5G new radio (NR), the global standard for 5G.
Qualcomm believes the proliferation of 5G technology will make it more cost-effective and easier for multi-gigabit internet service to reach more homes and businesses. The Snapdragon X50 5G platform will include the modem, the SDR051 mm wave 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.
The announcement comes the same day Qualcomm announced the first gigabit LTE mobile device and network.