Qualcomm Touts ‘5G Mobile Breakthrough’ With mmWave, Sub-6 GHz Modules

Qualcomm's 5G antennas are primed for next year's phones

According to the company, these represent "the world's first fully-integrated 5G NR wave mmWave and sub-6 GHz RF modules" specifically designed for smartphones. Qualcomm notes that mmWave was once written off as too hard to engineer into mobile devices, due to challenges with "materials, form-factor, industrial design, thermals, and regulatory requirements for radiated power".

Qualcomm reckons four of the QTM052 units can be packed into a smartphone. These modules are shipping to manufacturers this week so expect to see them in phones in the first half of 2019.

With the X50 modem and new modules, a smartphone will be able to switch mmWave beams between the antennas on the phone, if one of the beams is blocked by a hand (or something else), says Hanna.

After years of hype and tantilizing teaser demonstrations, 5G is now so close you can virtually taste the multi-gigabit wireless speeds.

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We had a multiple discussion over the last few months with Sherif Hanna Director of Product Marketing around 4G and 5G at Qualcomm and plenty of other from the 4G and 5G team about the importance of millimeter waves. Silicon maker, Qualcomm has been working towards that future too and its new mmWave antennas could potentially solve one of the biggest hurdles of bringing 5G connectivity to smartphones. It is expected that the first phones that sport X50 5G modem will be available for purchase in 2019, with OnePlus already confirming that it will launch the OnePlus 7 with 5G support using Qualcomm technology. They also feature an integrated 5G NR radio transceiver, power management IC, RF front-end components, and phased antenna array. Also, they support up to 800MHz of bandwidth in the 26.5GHz to 29.5GHz (n257), as well as the entire 27.5GHz to 28.35 GHz (n261) and 37GHz to 40 GHz (n260) mmWave bands.

While mmWave is best suited for providing 5G coverage in dense urban areas and crowded indoor environments, broad 5G NR coverage will be achieved in sub-6 GHz spectrum bands.

The modules include switching created to optimize massive MIMO applications, and cover the 3.3 to 4.2GHz, 3.3 to 3.8GHz, and 4.4 to 5.0GHz bands. To make it easier, the company is calling it as the Qualcomm QTM052 mmWave antenna module along with the Qualcomm QPM56xx RF module.

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