The 4G/5G summit which was organized by the popular smartphone chipmaker Qualcomm in Hong Kong witnessed the public announcement of the world’s first 5G modem, the Snapdragon X50 on 18th October. In a time when 4G is gaining momentum, this move by Qualcomm can be termed as farsighted in grabbing the new opportunity from the next big revolution in the networking industry.
Qualcomm has announced that the Snapdragon X50 is capable of downloading files with a speed up to 5 Gbps, which is almost 400 times faster than what we get from the current 4G based modems. The new 5G modem will use even wider bandwidths which will be provided by the next-gen 28GHz millimeter wave (mmWave) band when combined with ultra advanced signal processing technologies.
The Snapdragon X50 is designed to support Multiple- Input/output antenna arrays and adaptive beam forming and a similar beam tracking technologies, which according to the executive of Qualcomm extends the mobility and reach to non-line-of-sight situations of mmWave.
Qualcomm executive vice president Cristiano Amon said, “For example, the Snapdragon X50 5G modem can direct the energy of the mmWave beam, bouncing off obstacles to reach the mmWave 5G small cell with which it is communicating.” He further added, “The Snapdragon X50 5G modem heralds the arrival of 5G as operators and OEMs reach the cellular network and device testing phase. Using our long history of LTE and WiFi 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.”
Qualcomm has also announced that it will start sending sample chips to smartphone manufacturers by the end of next year. But Qualcomm has also pointed out that these are experimental prototypes so we might not be able to see any devices with 5G modem before the year 2018.
Commercial use of 5G modem will take some time as the current telecom infrastructure supports only 4G spectrums, to adopt 5G teleoperators will have to revamp their network. KT Corporation of South Korea will be the world’s first teleoperator to roll out 5G network but it is expected to be launched in 2018, right before the South Korea will host Winter Olympics.