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Qualcomm scales out 5G for industrial IoT

Comms tech giant makes major push to advance next-generation network product range to act as catalyst for digital transformation within industrial internet of things environment

As the promised impact and growth of 5G is beginning to emerge and the potential of the internet of things (IoT) in commercial use cases becomes more apparent, 5G technology provider Qualcomm has announced its first IoT modem solution equipped for 5G connectivity and optimised for industrial IoT (IIoT) applications.

Qualcomm believes the needs of modern IoT include seamlessly transitioning wired factories to wireless with solutions capable of supporting both LTE and 5G connectivity.

The new 315 5G IoT Modem-RF System modem-to-antenna solution is designed to support the IoT ecosystem in building upgradeable LTE and 5G devices for IoT verticals, accelerate the adoption of 5G connectivity for IoT, and expand the overall opportunity for 5G in the IoT industry.

This opportunity was outlined in a March 2021 study from Strategy Analytics which found that after 2020 witnessed slower than expected growth in internet of things connections due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with a slight overall increase, similar growth rates are expected in 2021, with the pandemic highlighting the need for investment in telehealth, especially remote patient monitoring and diagnostics.

The IoT cellular connections by air interface by region also noted that while 5G accounted for less than 1% of IoT connections in 2020, it would rise to 40% of all the overall 3.5 billion cellular IoT connections by 2030. It added that the majority of 5G connections would not be significant until 2026, with 4G remaining the dominant technology over the forecast period.

The 5G IoT Modem supports global 5G new radio sub-6GHz bands and operates in stand-alone only mode, with the capability to switch to LTE as needed, and can be deployed over private or public 5G networks, using network slicing or in isolation. This solution is said to be optimal for IIoT applications that can be integrated with existing ethernet and wired technologies. The new modem comes with extended life software and hardware.

Qualcomm claims that the solution can enable a new generation of fast, powerful, and high-performing IoT solutions across market segments, like manufacturing, construction, public venues and precision agriculture. The 315 5G IoT modem is said to have was designed with industrial and enterprise applications in mind, built with gigabit class performance, low-power, and thermal-efficient capabilities to enable industrial IoT applications solutions.

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The 315 5G IoT modem complements Qualcomm’s existing portfolio of LTE IoT modems with a path towards 5G proliferation.

Additionally, due to its reduced footprint and integrated RF front-end, it also expands the portfolio, designed to provide a pin-to-pin compatible solution for current LTE legacy modules. It also provides legacy modules with ability to upgrade with no changes needed to existing hardware, thus said the company minimising development efforts, costs and providing a seamless transition from LTE to 5G.

“Our new 5G IoT solution which will help stimulate and scale the 5G IoT industry and enable the transitions needed for Industry 4.0,” said Jeffery Torrance, senior vice-president of product management at Qualcomm Technologies.

“This solution will help create long-lasting devices and promote growth and expansion in the 5G IoT industry, allowing seamless integration for customers utilising previous generations of connectivity,” he said.

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