Qualcomm announces Snapdragon X50, the first 5G modem chipset solution

At the on-going Qualcomm 4G/5G summit, the company has announced the world's first 5G modem chipset solution with the Snapdragon X50 5G modem.


At the on-going Qualcomm 4G/5G summit, the San Diego-based company has announced the world's first 5G modem chipset solution with the Snapdragon X50 5G modem. It is meant to help OEMs working on making the next generation of cellular devices along with helping operators who are doing early 5G trials and deployments.

The first consumer products with the Snapdragon X50 5G modem are expected to hit the markets in the first half of 2018.

The Snapdragon X50 5G modem is designed to support theoretical peak download speeds of up to 5 Gbps with 800MHz bandwidth support. The X50 will be working in the millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum in the 28GHz band. It will use MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) antenna technology. Millimeter waves are cannot transmit over long distances and for the 5G speeds to be a reality, there is a lot of work to be done in setting up the infrastructure. As opposed to having tall cell towers, 5G will rely more on small-cell base stations which are located closer to each other to improve 5G coverage.

"The Snapdragon X50 5G modem heralds the arrival of 5G as operators and OEMs reach the cellular network and device testing phase," said Cristiano Amon, executive vice president, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., and president, QCT. "Utilising our long history of LTE and Wi-Fi leadership, we are thrilled to deliver a product that will help play a critical role in bringing 5G devices and networks to reality."

Qualcomm X50 5G modem is built to work not only with multi-mode 4G/5G mobile broadband but also with fixed wireless broadband devices as well. The X50 5G modem can be paired with a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor which has an integrated Gigabit LTE modem and can work together with it via dual connectivity.

For the consumers, the X50 5G modem promises to improve connectivity between mobile users and cloud services leading to faster media downloads and consumption and faster access to rich information.

According to Forbes, after cellular networks start offering gigabit level download speeds, it may be faster to access data from the cloud than from the on-board storage.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G platform will come with the modem, the SDR051 mmWave transceivers and the supporting PMX50 power management chip. The X50 5G modem is expected to begin its sampling in the second half of 2017.

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