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Today Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon X75 modem-RF system as part of its push for greater connectivity and intelligence at the edge. The Snapdragon X75 aligns with 3GPP’s Release 17 and was designed with next year’s Release 18 in mind. New offerings including optimized AI processing power and a combination of both mmWave and sub-6 frequencies, making it a forward-looking processing and communication platform.

The announcement is part of Qualcomm’s overall software push into the modem-RF suite, said Durga Malladi, senior vice president and general manager of cellular modems and infrastructure at Qualcomm Technologies. Qualcomm has seen that people want “a unique customer experience” and smart network selection based on user context. For example, user context might figure out if you are in a hand-to-reach place like an elevator or a subway. From there, it decides which band to attach to your cellular network.

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Solution for 5G mmWave and sub-6 GHz bands

Snapdragon X75 will include Qualcomm’s 6th generation modem-to-antenna solution, enabling it to support 5G Advanced standards from the 3rd Generation Partnership Project. It includes a converged transceiver for mmWave and sub-6, allowing it to use both.

“This is yet another step forward in terms of optimizing the performance, getting the best out of the solution and the modem-RF platform … while mixing 5G mmWave and sub-6 bands in a more elegant solution,” Malladi said in a virtual presentation.

Another achievement in the Snapdragon X75 is that Qualcomm can claim the world’s first 10-carrier aggregation for mmWave, 5x downlink carrier aggregation and FDD uplink MIMO for sub-6 GHz bands, which improves spectrum aggregation and capacity. The converged transceiver connects to the new Qualcomm QTM565 fifth-generation mmWave antenna modules. These reduce cost, board complexity, hardware footprint and power consumption, Qualcomm said.

In addition, the Snapdragon X75 offers support for 4G, with Qualcomm DSDA Gen 2 support enabling 5G/4G Dual Data on two SIM cards at the same time.

What Snapdragon X75 means for artificial intelligence

AI-based capabilities took the spotlight during Qualcomm’s presentation. The tensor accelerator for 5G is optimized for AI processing power.

“It’s a commitment in terms of thinking of 5G and AI hand-in-hand,” Malladi said.

Qualcomm brings a fusion of the tensor accelerator, the AI model and RF put together to deliver the best possible mmWave beam point, Malladi said. This allows for better mmWave robustness and improves range. AI also helps with location tracking, especially in dense or hard-to-reach locations such as city canyons.

SEE: How 5G and AI will work together (TechRepublic)

Qualcomm claims that the Snapdragon X75 is the first modem-RF System with a dedicated hardware tensor accelerator. That power comes from the Qualcomm 5G AI Processor Gen 2. It brings over 2.5 times better AI performance than the Gen 1 in the same line, and it applies AI optimizations to functions such as speed, coverage, mobility, link robustness and location accuracy.

Plus, the Qualcomm 5G AI Suite brings sensor-assisted mmWave beam management and AI-based GNSS Location Gen 2, both important for 5G performance.

Developments in fixed wireless

The Snapdragon X75 enables another major announcement: It powers Qualcomm’s Fixed Wireless Access Platform Gen 3, which is a fully integrated, 5G Advanced-ready fixed wireless access platform with mmWave, sub-6 GHz and Wi-Fi 7 support. It’s built to support all-wireless broadband that can deliver multi-gigabit speeds and wire-like latency inside homes or buildings.

Mobile operators may benefit from the ability to deliver fiber-like internet speeds wirelessly over 5G to reach customers in remote or very highly populated areas. The Fixed Wireless Access Platform Gen 3 will benefit from the platform’s converged mmWave-sub-6 hardware architecture since it reduces footprint, cost, board complexity and power consumption overall.

The software architecture supports multiple frameworks, including OpenWRT and RDK-B, Qualcomm said.

“5G Advanced will take connectivity to a whole new level, fueling the new reality of the Connected Intelligent Edge,” said Malladi.

Qualcomm expects Snapdragon X75 to launch in commercial devices by the second half of 2023.

Snapdragon X72 modem-to-antenna connector

Qualcomm also announced today the Snapdragon X72 5G modem-RF system. This 5G modem-to-antenna solution supports multi-gigabit download and upload speeds, making it an interesting option for mainstream adoption of mobile broadband applications.

Plus, Qualcomm recently introduced the Snapdragon Satellite two-way messaging services, which will be interoperable with the X75. Qualcomm and partner companies are working on other ways to bring 5G to more locations and to advance radio connectivity solutions.

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