Qualcomm has just announced its new 5G modem, the Snapdragon X65. It is, according to Qualcomm, the first 5G modem capable of delivering up to 10 Gbps speeds. The chip is already shipping to the company’s customers and the first commercial devices are expected to hit the market by the end of 2021. Alongside this modem, Qualcomm has announced a second chip, the Snapdragon X62 5G, optimized for “widespread adoption of mobile broadband applications.”
The Snapdragon X65 is designed with an upgradeable architecture intended to accelerate the deployment of the new 3GPP Release 16. The chip has a four-nanometer baseband and uses several proprietary technologies focused on the signal enhancement and power savings. It is compatible with Sub-6 GHz and mmWave networks, both NSA and SA, so in principle, compatibility should not be a problem.
10 Gbps peak speed
According to Cristiano Amon, president of Qualcomm, this chip “will play a critical role in enabling new 5G use cases to not only redefine premium smartphone experiences but also open up a new world of possibilities for 5G expansion across mobile broadband, computing, mixed reality, industrial IoT, 5G private networks and fixed wireless access.”
Key new features of the modem include an upgradeable architecture so that the modem’s capabilities can be enhanced, customized, and expanded depending on where it is to be applied. It can be upgraded with new features and thus increase the lifetime of the devices, which is particularly useful for industrial sectors and fixed wireless access.
Also, the chip has a mMWave QTM545 antenna module that supports higher transmit power and all mmWave global frequencies, including the new 41 GHz n259 band, while maintaining the size of the previous generation. According to the company, its modem is capable of delivering up to 10 Gbps peak speed in both NSA and SA modes, although we will have to wait to see what the figures are in real environments.
Qualcomm has implemented several technologies designed to improve the modem’s performance. One of these is an artificial intelligence that improves grip detection accuracy by 30%. It allows the mobile to adjust the antennas depending on how we hold them to improve signal reception and the speed received. Another is PowerSave 2.0, which is based on the battery saving technologies defined in 3GPPP Release 16 and serves to optimize battery consumption.
Finally, something interesting is the aggregation between all key 5G bands and combinations, including mmWave and Sub-6GHz, FDD and TDD, and DSS, which allows operators to offer higher speeds thanks to higher bandwidth. As mentioned above, both the Snapdragon X65 and X62 are already shipping to OEMs, but we will have to be patient and wait until the end of the year to see it in operation.
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