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Qualcomm Claims 5G Milestone With 1Gbps Demo

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Who needs fibre? New 5G smartphone chip from Qualcomm delivers 1Gbps data connection

Smartphones of the future could offer faster data connections than current fixed-line fibre broadband, after Qualcomm demonstrated a new 5G smartphone chip.

This new chip, the Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G modem chipset, delivered a staggering 1Gbps data connection speed in the 28GHz mmWave radio frequency band.

This gigabit speed could increase the arrival of genuine 5G services, as the UK communications regulator Ofcom plans to auction off more mobile bandwidth later this year.

qualcomm

Major Milestone

In addition to offering a demonstration of the new 5G chipset, Qualcomm also previewed its first 5G smartphone reference design for the testing and optimisation of 5G technology within the power and form-factor constraints of a smartphone.

A video adverting the ‘xtrafast’ 5G chipset can be found here.

“Achieving the world’s first announced 5G data connection with the Snapdragon X50 5G modem chipset on 28GHz mmWave spectrum is truly a testament to Qualcomm Technologies’ leadership in 5G and extensive expertise in mobile connectivity,” said Cristiano Amon, executive VP Qualcomm Technologies.

“This major milestone and our 5G smartphone reference design showcase how Qualcomm Technologies is driving 5G NR in mobile devices to enhance mobile broadband experiences for consumers around the world,” said Amon.

The 5G data connection demonstration apparently took place in Qualcomm laboratories in San Diego. It was able to achieve gigabit download speeds, using several 100 MHz 5G carriers, and demonstrated a data connection in 28 GHz millimetre wave (mmWave) spectrum.

“5G NR mmWave is a new frontier for mobile, now made possible through the 5G NR standard, and is expected to usher in the next generation of user experiences and significantly increase network capacity,” said the firm.

It also pointed out that in addition to the Snapdragon X50 5G modem chipset, the demonstration also utilised the SDR051 mmWave RF transceiver integrated circuit (IC).

Rapid Development

It was in October last year when Qualcomm announced the first commercial 5G modem chipset, despite the fact that 5G currently remains mostly the subject of laboratory research.

The fact that it in the space of 12 months, it has moved from a product announcement to functional silicon, shows the speed of the development of this technology.

It should be noted however that Qualcomm’s speed claim is not the fastest so far.

In July 2016 for example, Vodafone and Huawei achieved transmission rates of 20Gbps in a 5G network test using the 70GHz band.

A standard for 5G is still to be defined by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) telecommunications group.

This would pave the way for commercial networks to be launched in 2020.

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