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23 July 2018

Qualcomm unveils 5G NR mmWave and sub-6GHz RF modules for mobile devices

© Semiconductor Today Magazine / Juno PublishiPicture: Disco’s DAL7440 KABRA laser saw.

Qualcomm Technologies Inc, a subsidiary of Qualcomm Inc of San Diego, CA, USA, has unveiled what it claims is the first fully integrated 5G NR millimeter-wave (mmWave) and sub-6GHz RF modules for smartphones and other mobile devices. The QTM052 mmWave antenna module family and the QPM56xx sub-6GHz RF module family pair with the Snapdragon X50 5G modem to deliver modem-to-antenna capabilities across several spectrum bands, in a compact footprint suitable for integration in mobile devices.

“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-6GHz RF solution,” says Qualcomm Inc’s president Cristiano Amon. “Now, these types of modem-to-antenna solutions, spanning both mmWave and sub-6GHz spectrum bands, make mobile 5G networks and devices, especially smartphones, ready for large-scale commercialization,” he adds. “With 5G, consumers can expect gigabit-class Internet speeds with unprecedented responsiveness in the palm of their hands.”

To date, mmWave signals have not been used for mobile wireless communications due to the many technical and design challenges they pose, which impact nearly every aspect of device engineering, including materials, form-factor, industrial design, thermals, and regulatory requirements for radiated power. As such, many in the mobile industry considered mmWave highly impractical for mobile devices and networks, and thus unlikely to materialize, says Qualcomm.

The QTM052 mmWave antenna modules work in tandem with the Snapdragon X50 5G modem, as a comprehensive system, to help overcome the challenges associated with mmWave. They support advanced beam forming, beam steering and beam tracking technologies, drastically improving the range and reliability of mmWave signals. They feature an integrated 5G NR radio transceiver, power management IC, RF front-end components and phased antenna array. They support up to 800MHz of bandwidth in the 26.5-29.5GHz (n257) as well as the entire 27.5-28.35GHz (n261) and 37-40GHz (n260) mmWave bands. Most importantly, the QTM052 modules integrate all these capabilities in a compact footprint, so that up to four of them can be integrated in a smartphone. This allows OEMs to continue evolving the industrial design of their mobile devices, offering attractive form factors combined with the benefits of extremely high speeds from mmWave 5G NR, and making such devices available for launch as early as first-half 2019, says Qualcomm.

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-6GHz spectrum bands. As such, the QPM56xx RF module family (including the QPM5650, QPM5651, QDM5650 and QDM5652) is designed to allow smartphones based on the Snapdragon X50 5G modem to support 5G NR in sub-6GHz RF bands. The QPM5650 and QPM5651 feature an integrated 5G NR PA/LNA/switch and filtering subsystem. The QDM5650 and QDM5652 feature an integrated 5G NR LNA/switch and filtering subsystem for diversity and MIMO support. All four modules offer integrated SRS switching required for optimum massive MIMO applications and support for 3.3-4.2GHz (n77), 3.3-3.8GHz (n78) and 4.4-5.0GHz (n79) sub-6GHz bands. Qualcomm says that these sub-6GHz RF modules provide mobile device makers with a viable path to delivering on the promise of 5G NR massive MIMO technology in mobile devices.

Both the QTM052 mmWave antenna module family and the QPM56xx sub-6GHz RF module family are now sampling to customers.

See related items:

Qualcomm announces RF front-end design wins with Google, HTC, LG, Samsung and Sony Mobile

Qualcomm and TDK launch joint venture RF360 Holdings

Qualcomm and TDK forming JV to provide RF front-ends for mobile devices

Tags: CMOS PAs

Visit: www.qualcomm.com

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