Qualcomm Unveils First mmWave and Sub-6GHz 5G Antennas for Smartphones

Today, Qualcomm officially announced the first 5G millimeter wave and sub-6GHz antennas for mobile devices.

Qualcomm unveiled its new QTM052 millimeter wave and QPM56xx sub-6GHz radio frequency antenna module families. They work alongside the company’s Snapdragon X50 5G to bring superfast network speeds to smartphones.

The modules will let phone makers cover the gamut of 5G airwaves, including the shorter-range but faster millimeter wave spectrum and the more reliable but slower sub-6GHz airwaves.

Cristiano Amon, the President of Qualcomm Incorporated, stated:

Today’s announcement of the first commercial 5G NR mmWave antenna modules and sub-6 GHz RF modules for smartphones and other mobile devices represents a major milestone for the mobile industry. Qualcomm Technologies’ early investment in 5G has allowed us to deliver to the industry a working mobile mmWave solution that was previously thought unattainable, as well as a fully-integrated sub-6 GHz RF solution. Now, these type of modem-to-antenna solutions, spanning both mmWave and sub-6 spectrum bands, make mobile 5G networks and devices, especially smartphones, ready for large scale commercialization. With 5G, consumers can expect gigabit-class Internet speeds with unprecedented responsiveness in the palm of their hands, which stand to revolutionize the mobile experience.

While the sub-6 GHz module uses radio frequencies similar to existing wireless phones, the mmWave module is a significant breakthrough. Qualcomm notes that mmWave was once written off as too difficult to engineer into mobile devices, due to challenges with “materials, form-factor, industrial design, thermals, and regulatory requirements for radiated power.” But engineers saw its potential to speed up 5G networks and persisted until they solved the engineering issues.

The mmWave antenna module supports advanced beam forming, beam steering, and beam tracking technologies. They also feature an integrated 5G NR radio transceiver, power management IC, RF front-end components, and phased antenna array. The X50 modem provides the capabilities to control the modules and ensure their performance.

5G, the next generation of cellular technology, is expected to significantly boost the speed, coverage, and responsiveness of wireless networks. It can go 10 to 100 times faster than your typical cellular connection today, and even quicker than anything you can get with a physical fiber-optic cable going into your house.

Assuming Qualcomm finds success outside of the lab, this is undoubtedly a big deal. The company says the first devices with QTM052 antennas will launch at the beginning of next year. All that’s needed now are 5G networks that can communicate with the antennas.

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