Audio ICs

First Commercial 5G Modem Chipset Introduced

18 October 2016

Qualcomm Inc. has introduced what it claims to be the first commercial 5G modem chipset solution, its Snapdragon X50.

The modem is targeted at OEMs looking to begin building the next generation of cellular devices and aid operators with early 5G trials and deployments. The X50 5G modem will initially support operation on the millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum in the 28 Ghz band.

Qualcomm says the chipset will employ multiple-input multiple-output antenna (MIMO) technology with adaptive beamforming and beam tracking techniques for robust and sustained mobile broadband communications in non-line-of-sight (NLOS) environments. The X50 5G modem is also designed to support the 800 Mhz bandwidth with peak download speeds of up to five gigabits per second.

The chipset can be paired with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor with an integrated Gigabit LTE modem, and it supports dual connectivity. The semiconductor vendor says Gigabit LTE will become an essential factor for 5G because it can provide a wide coverage layer for nascent 5G networks.

The X50 5G platform will include the modem, the SDR051 mmWave transceivers and the supporting PMX50 power management chip. Sampling is expected to begin in the second half of 2017, with the first commercial products expected to be available during the first half of 2018.

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