Qualcomm reveals successful 5G mmWave data call test

Comms chips giant claims 5G data call commercialisation milestone from fourth-generation 5G modem-RF system and mmWave antennas

Communications chip giant Qualcomm Technologies has taken a key step in its evolution of 5G systems by completing 5G data calls that successfully combine millimetre wave (mmWave) with FDD or TDD sub-6GHz spectrum by utilising 5G standalone mode dual connectivity.

Using the fourth-generation Qualcomm Snapdragon X65 5G modem-RF system and Qualcomm QTM545 mmWave antenna module inside a smartphone form-factor device, Qualcomm Technologies’ engineers aggregated 5G sub-6GHz FDD with 28GHz mmWave spectrum, then 5G sub-6GHz TDD with 39GHz mmWave spectrum.

This demonstrated Snapdragon X65’s ability to aggregate low/mid and high bands across key global combinations, said the company.

The relevance of the test, said Qualcomm, was that spectrum aggregation, including dual connectivity using mmWave and sub-6GHz frequencies, is critical to delivering multi-gigabit speeds and the massive capacity required for a new generation of consumer and enterprise applications.

It said combining different types of radio spectrum will enable mobile 5G devices to wirelessly achieve wired broadband-class speeds, even in challenging conditions such as crowded venues and transit hubs, as well as powering robust 5G fixed wireless access services in homes and small businesses.

“Qualcomm Technologies has continuously pioneered 5G solutions capable of scaling in both performance and global reach,” said Durga Malladi, senior vice-president and general manager, 4G/5G at Qualcomm Technologies. “These milestones combine the massive bandwidth of mmWave with the coverage of sub-6GHz FDD or TDD bands, enabling consumers and enterprises across the globe to make the most of 5G networks and devices, especially in traditionally congested, bandwidth-hungry spaces.”

Qualcomm achieved the mmWave/sub-6GHz carrier aggregation milestones during data calls conducted on 17 March 2021. Smartphone form-factor devices equipped with the Snapdragon X65 successfully made data connections using 5G network emulation solutions from Keysight Technologies, demonstrating the global compatibility and interoperability of Qualcomm’s systems with 5G standalone networks that are already being deployed across the globe.

According to the Global Mobile Suppliers Association, there are more than 100 commercial and pre-commercial 5G mmWave devices, ranging from phones and PCs to mobile hotspots, modules and consumer premises equipment, and virtually all of these devices are powered by the Snapdragon 5G modem-RF systems.

Qualcomm Technologies has been at the forefront of 5G millimetre wave development and commercialisation and is already sampling its fourth-generation mmWave chipset for smartphones. The company said its latest 5G modem-RF system, Snapdragon X65, is the world’s first to offer peak speeds up to 10Gbps.

The Snapdragon X65 and Qualcomm QTM545 mmWave antenna module are currently sampling to customers, with commercial devices expected to launch later in 2021.

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