Qualcomm's subsidiary Qualcomm Technologies announced that it's expanding its X50 5G modem lineup that was announced in October with new additions that will support all cellular technologies from 2G to 5G on a single chip. On Sunday, the San Diego-based tech giant said that the new 5G New Radio (NR) multi-mode chipsets will be designed to serve as versatile products that not only support the next generation of cellular technologies but will even be able to function outside of areas with 4G LTE coverage. As for high-speed connectivity, Qualcomm's new offerings will be able to simultaneously connect to 4G and 5G networks, the company revealed. That scenario is what Qualcomm refers to as Non-Standalone (NSA) operation which denotes cases in which user data and control signaling are sent over LTE. Additionally, the next generation of X50 5G modems will also support Standalone (SA) operation, i.e. be able to receive user data and control signaling exclusively over 5G NR.
The new additions to the X50 5G modem family will support all of the existing and upcoming mobile cellular technologies in the multi-band millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum, as well as the sub-6GHz spectrum, meaning their potential applications will be both numerous and versatile. The company's upcoming multi-mode modems are expected to be used for most of the upcoming 5G NR trials, as well as pre-commercial and commercial launches of 5G networks that are currently expected to be conducted in either 2019 or 2020. While Qualcomm's newly announced modems are more versatile than their predecessors, the initial members of the X50 5G family will still have their uses as they support the experimental standards that Verizon and some South Korean wireless carriers are expected to start testing in the coming years.
The 5G NR standard is the official standard of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), a global initiative aimed at facilitating the adoption of new cellular technologies. In related news, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) recently announced the minimum performance requirements of the next generation of mobile networks, so consumers already have an idea of what kind of technology jump they can expect from 5G networks.