The first wave of 5G tech may only just be upon us, but Qualcomm today announced its second-generation RF front-end (RFFE) solutions for 5G multi-mode mobile devices as well a next-gen modem.
The new Qualcomm Snapdragon X55 5G modem delivers a modem-to-antenna system for high-performance 5G mobile devices, supporting both sub-6 GHz and millimeter wave (mmWave) bands. The X55 is capable of maximum download speeds of 7 gigabits per second, compared to 5 gigabits for the X50. The amount of space needed to house the antenna module is also reduced, meaning it can be put into the slimmer smartphones designs.
The new system solution is engineered to assist OEMs to achieve faster launch times, improved performance, wider support for frequency bands and reduced development costs for building 5G mobile devices.
Qualcomm says that mobile operators will benefit from improved network capacity and coverage due to the advanced capabilities of devices, while consumers will enjoy sleeker 5G smartphones with superior battery life, call reliability and quality, data speeds, and network coverage.
"OEMs face a range of formidable design challenges when it comes to 5G. The need to support multimode operation from 5G to 2G, along with an ever-increasing number of band combinations, brings unprecedented complexity," said Cristiano Amon, president of Qualcomm Incorporated.
"Discrete modem or RF solutions are no longer sufficient. Qualcomm Technologies is unique in the mobile industry by offering a comprehensive modem-to-antenna solution, and we are pioneering efforts in all aspects of 5G and ready to enable our customers with these capabilities to help them commercialize the first wave of 5G devices this year."
The newly announced RFFE solutions include the Qualcomm QTM525 5G mmWave antenna module. The height of the module has been reduced to support 5G smartphone designs sleeker than 8 millimeters thick. The new module adds support for band n258 (26 GHz) for North America, Europe and Australia on top of bands n257 (28 GHz) and n260 (39 GHz) and n261 (US 28 GHz) already supported by its predecessors.
Qualcomm is also launching the world’s first 5G 100MHz envelope tracking solution, QET6100, as well as a family of integrated 5G/4G power amplifier (PA) and diversity modules, and the QAT3555 5G adaptive antenna tuning solution. The QET6100 extends envelope tracking technology to the wide 100 MHz uplink bandwidth and 256-QAM modulation needed for 5G NR, previously considered unattainable. This can achieve up to double the power efficiency compared to the alternative average power tracking technology, enabling faster devices with long battery life, as well as significant improvements in network coverage and capacity.
Qualcomm Technologies also introduced the QAT3555 Signal Boost adaptive antenna tuner, extending adaptive antenna tuning technology to 5G bands up to 6 GHz, while featuring a 25% reduced package height.
These products are expected to be sampled to Qualcomm customers in the first half of 2019 and be featured in commercial devices for consumers launching late this year.