Unfortunately, MWC 2020 was cancelled, but Qualcomm's heavy 5g new product arrived ahead of time. Qualcomm today announced its third-generation 5g modem, snapdragon X60, which is the world's first 5nm 5g baseband and and the world's first chip with a 5nm process.
The Xiaolong X60 system with Qualcomm's latest millimeter wave antenna module can achieve a download speed of up to 7.5gbps and an upload speed of 3gbps, enabling 5g wireless networks to provide fiber-optic network speed and low latency services. Compared with the previous generation of Xiaolong x55, the carrier aggregation in the frequency band below 6GHz of Xiaolong X60 in the independent networking mode can double the peak rate of 5g independent networking.
However, the more important significance of the Xiaolong X60 is to support all major frequency bands, deployment modes, frequency band combinations, and 5g vonr capabilities, so as to accelerate the evolution of 5g network deployment to independent Networking (SA).
5g deployment is more complex than ever
In 2019, the first year of 5g has been opened in the world.According to public information, by the beginning of 2020, more than 45 operators have launched 5g services and more than 40 OEM manufacturers have launched 5g terminals.
Compared with less than 5 operators deploying network in the first year of 4G commercial operation, 5g is in commercial operation at a faster speed. In 2019, the United States, China, South Korea and Australia all launched 5g commercial network with non independent Networking (NSA) mode in the band below 6GHz.
In 2020 and 2021, these countries will deploy 5g networks of FDD below 6GHz, 6GHz to download wave aggregation, millimeter wave, millimeter wave aggregation below 6GHz and SA mode according to their own pace. Countries and regions such as Japan, Latin America, Southeast Asia and India will also enter 5g era within two years.
The complex networking and spectrum mentioned above is a big challenge for 5g business.Although in the early stage of 5g development, there are more than 10000 frequency band combinations in the world. On the one hand, 5g features bring about, on the other hand, it is closely related to the development history of mobile communication technology in different regions. Obviously, so many combinations have brought unprecedented challenges to both telecom operators and 5g terminals.
The U.S. is a typical example affected by the deployment of 5g spectrum resources. At present, only the U.S. has deployed 6GHz and millimeter wave frequency bands in the global commercial 5g network. This is because the frequency band below 6GHz in the United States is mainly occupied by the government, and it is difficult for private enterprises to obtain the use license.
From a technical point of view, the higher the frequency and the shorter the wavelength of electromagnetic wave, the easier it will be interfered by obstacles (buildings, trees, rain, fog) in the process of propagation. As the name implies, millimeter wave is electromagnetic wave with wavelength of 1-10 mm. 5g millimeter wave network can provide higher speed and more stable access for densely populated places, but more base stations need to be deployed to maintain wide area coverage. Therefore, 5g millimeter wave band is more suitable for hot spots, and 6GHz band is more suitable for 5g wide coverage.
In addition to the differences of 2G, 3G and 4G deployment frequency bands in various countries, the types of frequency bands are also divided into FDD (frequency division duplex, with two independent channels, one for sending information and the other for receiving information) And TDD (time division duplex, transmitting and receiving signals in different time slots of the same frequency channel, separated by a certain guarantee time.) To further diversify the frequency bands of global wireless communication.
In other words, different spectrum combinations and different frequency types in different countries make 5g deployment more complex than ever before.
5g baseband flexibility is as important as speed
Since 5g deployment involves so many frequency bands, it naturally requires a more flexible 5g baseband. This is also the focus of upgrading Qualcomm's third generation baseband processor. The official statement is that the snapdragon X60 is the first 5g modem and RF system supporting the aggregation of all major frequency bands and their combinations in the world, including millimeter wave and FDD and TDD frequency bands below 6GHz, providing operators with the highest flexibility to use fragmented spectrum resources to improve 5g performance.
More clearly, for example, with the help of dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS), operators can deploy 5g services on the FDD band that has been used for LTE low-frequency deployment. The snapdragon X60 supports 5g fdd-tdd carrier aggregation, which enables operators to increase network capacity and expand coverage.
In addition, operators can greatly improve their peak throughput, which is more than 5.5gbps, by means of millimeter wave - 6GHz aggregation. For operators deployed with 5g SA only in the band below 6GHz, the peak throughput of Xiaolong X60 can be doubled compared with the previous generation of products.
To be more intuitive, the Xiaolong X60 can support the combination of all major frequency bands, deployment modes and frequency bands, improve the capacity of 5g network, expand the coverage, and accelerate the evolution of independent Networking (SA) mode.
This is the only product currently released that can meet these combinations, especially in millimeter wave. Qualcomm's third generation millimeter wave solution can support the global band of 24GHz, 26ghz, 28ghz and 39ghz, while other 5g baseband providers do not announce that they support millimeter wave but are not commercially available. They need to support not only a single millimeter wave band, but even millimeter wave.
Therefore, with the promotion of 5g network deployment, the flexibility and millimeter wave support of a 5g baseband suitable for the global market will become the focus.
Of course, 5g baseband is the most basic and the most concerned by ordinary consumers is the speed. As mentioned earlier, with the support of carrier aggregation, the Xiaolong X60 can achieve the speed improvement. Another key to speed up is baseband chip structure design and more advanced process.
Qualcomm didn't disclose the OEM of 5nm chip, but said it would find the right OEM partner according to the plan.
However, the most advanced 5nm process can naturally bring the advantages of performance and power consumption. high passThe snapdragon x55 released last year can achieve up to 7 Gbps download speed and up to 3 Gbps upload speed in 5g mode. This year's snapdragon X60 can achieve a maximum download speed of 7.5gbps and an upload speed of 3gbps.
It seems that the peak speed increase of snapdragon X60 is mainly in download speed, of course,With the continuous evolution of 5g standard, 5g rate will be further improved. However, we still need to pay attention to the actual rate of baseband integration into SOC. After all, 5g brings high-speed rate and high power consumption, so it must be considered comprehensively when integrating into SOC.
At present, the world's two flagship 5g SOC integrated with 5g baseband, the Tianji 1000 released in November last year can achieve a 4.7gbps downlink rate and a 2.5Gbps downlink rate. The Kirin 990 released in September last year has a downlink speed of 2.3gbps and an uplink speed of 1.25gbps.
Will the latest process lead to a significant increase in cost? Shen Lei, senior director of Qualcomm Corp product market, told Lei Feng net (official account: Lei Feng net) that there are many factors that affect cost. Besides baseband manufacturing process, there are also design factors. At present, we do not have specific data on cost.
About whether Qualcomm's powersave technology for 5g baseband has been upgraded in the Xiaolong X60, Shen Lei said that this technology is based on a series of technologies to save the power consumption of the receiver, among which the main one is cdrx discontinuous reception, which can support the mobile phone to adjust the mode according to different use states. However, how long and how to wake up also need to be optimized with the evolution of technology. At present, mobile phone side, network end, infrastructure and standards are all evolving. Of course, the realization of this technology also needs the joint efforts of all parties in the industrial chain.
As for the size reduction brought by 5nm, Shen Lei said that Qualcomm is still studying and optimizing at present, and there is no final result. The final size information will be updated later.
In addition, the snapdragon X60 also supports 5g vonr capability, which is ready for the evolution of 5g network to sa.
New combination will bring 5g wireless experience like optical fiber
When Qualcomm launched its first 5g baseband snapdragon X50 in 2016, it launched a supporting millimeter wave antenna module. One of the most important reasons is that the increase of 5g complexity makes the antenna module more complex. With the joint optimization of high pass baseband and and antenna module, 5g terminal can achieve higher performance.
This time, Qualcomm also launched a new Qualcomm qtm535 millimeter wave antenna module with the snapdragon X60. The new generation of products has a more compact design compared with the previous generation, supporting the creation of thinner and more fashionable smartphones.
Gaotong said that such a combination can provide fiber-optic network speed and low delay services through 5g wireless network, which will help to open a new generation of networking applications and experiences, including high-speed response multiplayer games, immersive 360 degree video, networking cloud computing, etc., while maintaining excellent energy efficiency to provide all day long service.
The way of baseband plus millimeter wave congenital module is also a new feature of Qualcomm's 5g era. Mollenkopf, chief executive of Qualcomm, mentioned in the conference call after the first quarter of fiscal year 2020 that Qualcomm's 5g strategy is to increase the value of each device through a higher performance core chipset and a new RF front-end.
As a result, the latest generation baseband and antenna modules have been released, while Qualcomm has also released ultra SAW filter technology. Radio frequency (RF) filter is a device that separates the radio signals transmitted and received by mobile phones from different frequency bands. The high pass ultra SAW filter can increase the insertion loss by 1 dB, and can provide higher performance than the competing BAW filter in the frequency range below 2.7ghz.
According to Gaotong, compared with other commercial solutions with similar performance indicators, ultra saw technology can support OEMs to achieve more efficient RF paths in 5g and 4G multimode mobile terminals at a lower cost.
Finally, there are key product delivery times.Qualcomm plans to sample snapdragon X60 and qtm535 in the first quarter of 2020, and the commercial flagship smartphone with a new modem and RF system is expected to be launched in early 2021.
A series of discrete and integrated products adopting Qualcomm ultraSAW technology will start mass production in the first quarter of 2020, and the commercial flagship terminal launched by OEM manufacturers using the technology is expected to be launched in the second half of 2020.
Summary of Lei Feng
Qualcomm launched its first 5g baseband as early as 2016, but only supporting NSA networking once became the focus of continuous attacks by competitors. With the introduction of the snapdragon X60 with higher speed, better flexibility and better millimeter wave support, and with the latest antenna module, Qualcomm's strength in the field of mobile communication has once again made the best response with its products, which is an important upgrade of Qualcomm 5g products to meet the global market demand. Of course, the business model of baseband plus millimeter wave antenna module in the era of Qualcomm 5g also deserves attention.
Next, we will focus on the new 5g baseband products of Huawei, MediaTek and Ziguang zhanrui. There is no doubt that the number of 5g baseband chip players is decreasing, but the competition will only be more fierce.
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