MWC 2021, Barcelona: Qualcomm unveils a series of global milestones in 5G

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Enhancements are coming to the Snapdragon Mobile Platform, 5G mmWave and 5G RAN, the company said at Mobile World Congress.

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Qualcomm on Monday made a series of announcements related to its Snapdragon Mobile Platform, 5G mmWave and 5G RAN. The announcements came at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, and highlight global milestones in 5G, including how it is becoming more accessible and moving beyond smartphones, enabling new segments as it continues to proliferate globally.

5G Open RAN platform

The company announced its second-generation Qualcomm 5G RAN Platform for Small Cells (FSM200xx), calling it the industry's first 3GPP release 16 5G Open RAN platform. The new platform brings major enhancements to RF with its support for all commercial global mmWave and Sub-6GHz bands, including the new n259 (41GHz), n258 (26GHz) and FDD bands, according to Qualcomm.

SEE: Qualcomm adds 7 new chips to power IoT installations in retail, warehouse and manufacturing sectors (TechRepublic)

Building on growing commercial momentum with FSM100xx, this next-generation platform is designed to take mmWave performance to more places both indoors and outdoors and around the globe, Qualcomm said. At the same time, it introduces new Sub-6GHz opportunities with small cell densification in public and private networks, the company said.

These feature advancements and new spectrum support aim to drive greater mobile experiences and accelerate 5G performance and availability to users worldwide and reshape opportunities for homes, airports, stadiums, hospitals, offices and manufacturing facilities, the company said.

Additionally, with its release 16 support, the goal of the new platform is to power the transition to the factory of the future with its support for features including enhanced ultra-reliable, low-latency communication (eURLLC), which Qualcomm said is critical to controlling equipment and machines.

5G mmWave global rollout

In other news, the company said a contingent of mobile communications companies globally has announced collective support for 5G mmWave technology. These mobile operators seek to address the significant increases in user data demand and to expand the role of the mobile ecosystem in supporting the economic development of many industry verticals, which are critical in the post-pandemic world, Qualcomm said.

More than 180 operators worldwide are investing in 5G mmWave, according to GSA.

"The expansion of 5G mmWave is now inevitable. It is essential to achieve the full potential of 5G, and those embracing 5G mmWave will find themselves with a competitive advantage," said Cristiano Amon, president and CEO-elect, at Qualcomm, in a statement. "Support from companies across the ecosystem further demonstrates the global scale and maturity of 5G mmWave."

SEE: Edge computing adoption to increase through 2026; organizations cautious about adding 5G to the mix (TechRepublic Premium)

Amon said the company is helping to develop, standardize and commercialize 5G mmWave in tandem with major mobile industry leaders to accelerate the deployment of 5G mmWave across China, Europe, Japan, Korea, the U.S. and beyond.

5G mmWave uses abundant spectrum resources in frequencies above 24GHz to complement sub-6GHz rollouts and unleash the full potential of 5G, according to Qualcomm. The technology aims to allow leading operators the ability to add massive capacity to cellular networks, enabling them to deliver multi-gigabit wireless speeds and low-latency connectivity.

These capabilities are designed to help mobile operators to address everyday subscriber expectations for fast and responsive connectivity, and to expand 5G into new opportunities such as fixed wireless, enterprise (offices, campuses) and vertical applications and services, such as Ultra HD video security, and precise remote guidance and control in various scenarios like telemedicine, smart factories and smart ports, Qualcomm said.

Upgrades to Snapdragon 888 Plus 5G mobile platform

Qualcomm also announced the new Snapdragon 888Plus 5G Mobile Platform, a follow-on to its flagship Snapdragon 888. These two platforms power more than 130 designs announced or in development. Snapdragon 888 Plus fuels flagship experiences with intelligent entertainment, including artificial intelligence-enhanced gameplay, streaming, photography and more with the goal of enhancing performance, speed and connectivity.

SEE: 5G: What it means for edge computing (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Compared to its predecessor, Snapdragon 888 Plus comes with an increased Qualcomm Kryo 680 CPU prime core clock speed at up to 3.0GHz and the 6th generation Qualcomm AI engine with up to 32 TOPS AI performance, which is more than a 20% improvement, the company said.

Commercial devices based on Snapdragon 888 Plus are expected to be announced in the third quarter of the year, Qualcomm said.

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