5G mmWave delivering speeds 16 times faster than sub-6GHz

Mobile technology provider reveals speed test data that shows full extent of throughout gains at high-end part of next-generation infrastructure spectrum band

Demonstrating the attractiveness of mmWave 5G, Qualcomm Technologies has shown that connectivity speeds on commercial devices are now 16 times faster than 5G operating solely in sub-6GHz frequencies.

As 5G adoption increases and more services, such as telehealth and the internet of things, migrate to 5G networks, they will need spectrum across all bands, especially mmWave to deliver enough capacity to support full 5G experiences.

5G mmWave uses ultra-wide channels to deliver exponentially faster speeds and greater capacity compared with lower-frequency 4G or 5G bands. The test results – based on Ookla Speedtest Intelligence data from user-initiated tests on commercial devices in the US – imply that such experiences can be guaranteed at the mmWave location.

Qualcomm said 5G mmWave was critical to dramatically improving the performance and advancing the variety of connected experiences in every setting. It said the advanced technology could deliver massive bandwidth, whether at home with 5G fixed wireless access, on the go in a train station streaming business video applications, or just with a need for enterprise-grade connectivity.

5G mmWave momentum continues through the world, with deployments from all major operators in the US and Japan, recent deployments in Europe and Southeast Asia, and more coming soon in regions such as Australia and Latin America. China is also expected to deploy 5G mmWave for next year’s Winter Olympics.

Along with other companies within the mobile ecosystem, Qualcomm Technologies began work in the mmWave a number of years ago, moving to interoperability tests in 2017 and 2018, and ultimately commercialised mmWave in 2019 launching multiple flagship smartphones.

In 2020, the company showcased 5G mmWave speeds of over 5Gbps and in mid-April 2021, Qualcomm announced that it had taken a key step in its evolution of 5G systems by completing 5G data calls that successfully combined mmWave with FDD or TDD sub-6GHz spectrum by utilising 5G standalone mode dual connectivity.

“Our end-to-end modem-to-antenna solution brings together all the key 5G breakthroughs to optimise 5G connectivity using the massive bandwidth of mmWave,” said Durga Malladi, senior vice-president and general manager, 4G/5G at Qualcomm Technologies.

“With almost every major OEM offering 5G commercial devices globally, we are playing a critical role in enabling 5G to live up to its promise of speed and power. This not only redefines the smartphone experience, but also paves the way for endless possibilities, including the further expansion of 5G into fixed wireless access, 5G private networks, compute, XR and industrial IoT.”

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