User holds a smartphone displaying Qualcomm's logo
Credit: Adobe

Qualcomm has announced both a new Radio Frequency Front-End (RFFE) connectivity solution, as well as Wi-Fi 7 Front-End modules with the purpose of expanding its RFFE capabilities past just smartphones. The enhancements are expected to advance the company’s RFFE connections into the automotive, XR, PCs, wearables, mobile broadband and IoT arenas.

“With Qualcomm Technologies’ new products, we are extending our RFFE leadership into automotive and IoT, helping OEMs address their massive industry-specific challenges like development cost and scalability,” said Christian Block, senior vice president and general manager, RFFE, Qualcomm Germany RFFE GmbH. “OEMs using our solutions can design products with higher performance, longer battery life and reduced commercialization time, ultimately accelerating the pace of innovation and delivering improved experiences to consumers.”

Qualcomm’s new RFFE capabilities

Due to the large move towards hybrid and remote work models, Qualcomm identified the need for upgraded Wi-Fi capacity for both employees and organizations. This need for enhanced Wi-Fi has created design challenges within the RF space that the company is addressing through Front End Module (FEM) design and by using high quality bandpass filters. This additionally increased the need for high-performance RF connectivity solutions and dealing with roadblocks such as “higher frequencies, larger bandwidths, and RF simultaneous use or concurrency with 5G and Wi-Fi”, according to Qualcomm.

As a result of addressing these demands and challenges, the company has revealed its third-generation connectivity FEMs for Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth, and automotive-grade Wi-Fi FEMs for automotive applications. This development is anticipated to usher in both higher speeds and lower latency for Wi-Fi applications that specifically support Web 3 functions such as AR/VR, gaming and the metaverse.

The new FEMs are expected to not only support the needs of cellular technologies, but also that of mobile broadband, wireless infrastructure, networking applications and PCs for business users. This would also allow OEMs to benefit from reduced costs, increased power efficiency and top of the line performance.

The new FEMs are predicted to launch in the second half of this year, according to Qualcomm.

SEE: BYOD Approval Form (TechRepublic Premium)

Wi-Fi 7 Front-End modules

These new RFFE modules are targeted towards enhancing experiences within Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth users. This is accomplished by combining essential mechanisms between the Wi-Fi baseband chip and antennas for the expressed purpose of optimal wireless transmission. In turn, manufacturers will be able to use the modules to develop Wi-Fi client devices expeditiously and economically. The modules themselves will have 5G/Wi-Fi coexistence capabilities to augment unified capabilities around the two connections, thus increasing wireless performance in mobile devices.

From a hardware perspective, the modules are expected to work alongside Qualcomm’s array of Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth systems such as the FastConnect 7800 and the Snapdragon 5G Modem-RF for use with edge wireless devices like Snapdragon Connect.

These modules are currently being tested by customers and are also expected to be offered in the second half of 2022.