Qualcomm Announces First 3GPP 5G NR Connection, X50 5G NR Modem

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | February 27, 2017 - 11:12 AM |
Tagged: x50, Sub-6 Ghz, qualcomm, OFDM, NR, New Radio, MWC, multi-mode, modem, mmWave, LTE, 5G, 3GPP

Qualcomm has announced their first successful 5G New Radio (NR) connection using their prototype sub-6 GHz prototype system. This announcement was followed by today's news of Qualcomm's collaboration with Ericsson and Vodafone to trial 5G NR in the second half of 2017, as we approach the realization of 5G. New Radio is expected to become the standard for 5G going forward as 3GPP moves to finalize standards with release 15.

"5G NR will make the best use of a wide range of spectrum bands, and utilizing spectrum bands below 6 GHz is critical for achieving ubiquitous coverage and capacity to address the large number of envisioned 5G use cases. Qualcomm Technologies’ sub-6 GHz 5G NR prototype, which was announced and first showcased in June 2016, consists of both base stations and user equipment (UE) and serves as a testbed for verifying 5G NR capabilities in bands below 6 GHz."

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The Qualcomm Sub-6 GHz 5G NR prototype (Image credit: Qualcomm)

Qualcomm first showed their sub-6 Ghz prototype this past summer, and it will be on display this week at MWC. The company states that the system is designed to demonstrate how 5G NR "can be utilized to efficiently achieve multi-gigabit-per-second data rates at significantly lower latency than today’s 4G LTE networks". New Radio, or NR, is a complex topic as it related to a new OFDM-based wireless standard. OFDM refers to "a digital multi-carrier modulation method" in which "a large number of closely spaced orthogonal sub-carrier signals are used to carry data on several parallel data streams or channels". With 3GPP adopting this standard going forward the "NR" name could stick, just as "LTE" (Long Term Evolution) caught on to describe the 4G wireless standard.

Along with this 5G NR news comes the annoucement of the expansion of its X50 modem family, first announced in October, "to include 5G New Radio (NR) multi-mode chipset solutions compliant with the 3GPP-based 5G NR global system", according to Qualcomm. This 'multi-mode' solution provides full 4G/5G compatibility with "2G/3G/4G/5G functionality in a single chip", with the first commercial devices expected in 2019.

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"The new members of the Snapdragon X50 5G modem family are designed to support multi-mode 2G/3G/4G/5G functionality in a single chip, providing simultaneous connectivity across both 4G and 5G networks for robust mobility performance. The single chip solution also supports integrated Gigabit LTE capability, which has been pioneered by Qualcomm Technologies, and is an essential pillar for the 5G mobile experience as the high-speed coverage layer that co-exists and interworks with nascent 5G networks. This set of advanced multimode capabilities is designed to provide seamless Gigabit connectivity – a key requirement for next generation, premium smartphones and mobile computing devices."

Full press releases after the break.

SAN DIEGO and BEIJING — February 21, 2017 — Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM), today announced the Company’s first successful 5G connection based upon the New Radio (NR) work in 3GPP, which is expected to become the global 5G standard. The connection, which was completed utilizing Qualcomm Technologies’ sub-6 GHz 5G NR prototype system capable of operating at mid-band spectrum from 3.3 GHz to 5.0 GHz, demonstrates how advanced 5G NR technologies can be utilized to efficiently achieve multi-gigabit-per-second data rates at significantly lower latency than today’s 4G LTE networks. The successful connection serves as a significant milestone towards rapid validation and the upcoming commercialization of 5G NR technologies at scale.

5G NR will make the best use of a wide range of spectrum bands, and utilizing spectrum bands below 6 GHz is critical for achieving ubiquitous coverage and capacity to address the large number of envisioned 5G use cases. Qualcomm Technologies’ sub-6 GHz 5G NR prototype, which was announced and first showcased in June 2016, consists of both base stations and user equipment (UE) and serves as a testbed for verifying 5G NR capabilities in bands below 6 GHz. The live prototype demonstration showcased advanced 3GPP 5G NR technologies including adaptive self-contained TDD subframes, scalable OFDM-based waveforms to support wider bandwidths, advanced LDPC channel coding, and a new flexible, low-latency slot structure based design. These advanced technologies are based on key design decisions that have been made as part of the ongoing 5G NR 3GPP Study Item and will be critical to meeting the increasing connectivity requirements for emerging consumer mobile broadband experiences such as virtual reality, augmented reality and connected cloud computing.

Qualcomm Technologies will be demonstrating the prototype system publicly at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona from February 27 through March 2 in the Qualcomm booth (Hall 3, Booth 3E10), as well as in the China Mobile Communications Corporations booth (Hall 1 Stand 1G50) as part of their ongoing collaboration.

“In addition to serving as a significant milestone in 5G development, this first 5G NR connection is a powerful testament to Qualcomm Technologies’ continued leadership in developing next generation wireless technologies that drive and track 3GPP standardization,” said Matt Grob, executive vice president and chief technology officer, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “As we did with 3G, 4G and Gigabit LTE, Qualcomm is collaborating with leading network operators such as China Mobile Communications Corporation to ensure timely commercial network launches of 5G NR.”

Qualcomm Technologies’ 5G NR sub-6 GHz prototype system is built to closely track the ongoing 3GPP standardization efforts on 5G NR – the global 5G standard that will make use of both sub-6 GHz and mmWave spectrum bands. The prototype will also be utilized in our over- the-air 5G NR trials and interoperability testing starting in the second half of 2017. Tracking the 3GPP specification is important because it promotes adherence and validation with the global 5G standard, accelerating the time to high volume standard-compliant devices and infrastructure. It will also drive forward compatibility to future 3GPP 5G NR releases.

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BARCELONA— February 26, 2017 — Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) today announced that its subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI), is expanding the Qualcomm® SnapdragonTM X50 5G modem family to include 5G New Radio (NR) multi-mode chipset solutions compliant with the 3GPP-based 5G NR global system. Supporting operation in the sub-6 GHz and multi-band millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum, these new modems are designed to provide a unified 5G design for all major spectrum types and bands while addressing a wide range of use cases and deployment scenarios. The Snapdragon X50 5G modem family is engineered to provide wider bandwidths and extreme speeds for enhanced mobile broadband. Additionally, the modem solutions are designed to support both Non-Standalone (NSA) operation (where control signaling is sent over LTE), and Standalone (SA) operation (where all control signaling and user data are sent over 5G NR), and are designed to enable the next generation of premium-tier mobile cellular devices, while also aiding operators to execute early 5G trials and deployments. Commercial products integrating 5G NR modems from the Snapdragon X50 family are expected to be available to support the first large-scale 5G NR trials and commercial network launches starting in 2019.

The new members of the Snapdragon X50 5G modem family are designed to support multi-mode 2G/3G/4G/5G functionality in a single chip, providing simultaneous connectivity across both 4G and 5G networks for robust mobility performance. The single chip solution also supports integrated Gigabit LTE capability, which has been pioneered by Qualcomm Technologies, and is an essential pillar for the 5G mobile experience as the high-speed coverage layer that co-exists and interworks with nascent 5G networks. This set of advanced multimode capabilities is designed to provide seamless Gigabit connectivity – a key requirement for next generation, premium smartphones and mobile computing devices.

The expanded Snapdragon X50 5G modem family builds on Qualcomm Technologies' technology leadership with 5G NR prototype systems as well as joint tests and trials with leading network operators and network equipment vendors. This is exemplified by the recent announcement of its first 3GPP-based 5G NR Connection using Qualcomm Technologies' sub-6 GHz 5G NR prototype, and which demonstrated some of the key technologies and system design principles expected to be part of the 5G NR system and specification, such as scalable OFDM- based waveforms to support wider bandwidths, reciprocity-based multi-user MIMO, advanced LDPC channel coding, adaptive self-contained TDD subframes, and a new flexible, low-latency slot structure.

The Snapdragon X50 5G modem family builds on Qualcomm Technologies’ long history of leadership in developing next-generation wireless technologies that contribute to and facilitate 3GPP standardization. As Qualcomm Technologies did with 3G, 4G and Gigabit LTE, the Company is working with leading network operators to ensure timely specification of 5G NR in 3GPP as well as commercial launches of 5G NR. The Snapdragon X50 5G family is designed to support these 5G NR features that are expected to bring connected consumer mobile broadband applications such as virtual reality, augmented reality and connected cloud computing to a whole new level.

“Qualcomm Technologies is leading the world to 5G by inventing and commercializing in the Snapdragon X50 5G family, key technologies that are critical to unlocking the full potential of next generation connected computing and consumer experiences in premium smartphones, portable PCs and new classes of mobile devices.” said Cristiano Amon, executive vice president, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and president, QCT. “Qualcomm Technologies’ 5G NR chipset solutions will enable operators and OEMs to accelerate the worldwide deployment of 5G NR, delivering multi-gigabit-per-second data rates at a significantly lower latency and a unified connectivity fabric to meet the increasing connectivity requirements for mission-critical services, enhanced mobile broadband, and the massive Internet of Things.”

The first commercial products featuring Snapdragon X50 5G NR modems are expected to be available in 2019. 

Source: Qualcomm

February 27, 2017 | 12:18 PM - Posted by willmore

Sub-6GHz is a dog whistle that means LTE-U which is just the outright theft of the publically shared WiFi bands.

This is bad.

February 27, 2017 | 02:27 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I'm still waiting for some Flip Phones with at least a G3-G4 radio because my smart phone in not small enough for it to fit in my belt loop camera case that used to hold my GSM flip phone just fine. I could care less about download speeds as I want portability with mostly voice call usage. GSM is history for the US market! So where are the flip phones with the latest generation cell(G3, G4, LTE, whatever) radio functionality! I'm willing to pay more for a flip phone than a low/mid range cost smart phone just to get the small size to fit in that camera case.