Qualcomm today announced that its research and development locations in San Diego, California and Bridgewater, New Jersey have now expanded their 5G tests to include new end-to-end over-the-air (OTA) configurations for both mmWave and sub-6 GHz bands.
The networks are built on 3GPP 5G NR Release 15 standards although the company is also using them to test 3GPP Release 16 (and beyond) designs.
An approach that Qualcomm states not only helps it to plan for the future, but also to further refine operations under the current release standards.
Qualcomm also confirmed it will be showcasing the network improvements during MWC 2019 in Barcelona.
In a separate, but related announcement, Qualcomm also advised that in addition to network improvement demonstrations, the company will also be demoing new 5G applications
and use cases at the same event.
Again, these will not only be based on the 3GPP Release 15 standards, but also concept uses based on Release 16 and beyond. All of which is further designed to highlight how far the company has come in relation to the advancement of 5G, and across different product categories.
For example, while many recent demonstrations have focused on mobile broadband 5G connections, and even though Qualcomm will be showcasing these during MWC 2019, the company will also demonstrate additional benefits that 5G will bring beyond smartphones. One in particular the company was keen to highlight ahead of time is the use of boundless extended reality.
Extended reality, or "XR" is often used by Qualcomm as a catch-all label for the various realities, including but not limited to augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR) and virtual reality (VR). The "boundless" bit is in reference to the greater mobile-based XR experiences that are made available through 5G. The important point to note is these expereinces are not just possible due to the connection itself.
This is due to 5G's potential to act as more than a connection point but also a vessel to offload processing to somewhere else – the cloud. This approach results in less demand on devices locally which in turn helps to lower power consumption and improve other areas of the experience, such as latency. It is this on-device and elsewhere combined approach that will make it easier for these "boundless" experiences to be offered to consumers.
In fact, this on and off-device use is expected to resonate through 5G in general and across devices with Qualcomm also expected to highlight this point through additional demonstrations. As well as showcasing how both shared and unlicensed spectrum can be utilized together for even higher and more reliable levels of performance, network capacity and throughput.
Other demonstrations will focus in on the use of mmWave within an indoor context. For example, Qualcomm will look to showcase the benefits that 5G will bring to users when in a high-density venue by demoing how in spite of being in an ultra-busy indoor environment, and irrespective of the device, users can still expect improved capacity, multi-Gigabit speeds and lowered latency.
Besides the company's end-to-end testing and MWC 2019 attendance, the company also today announced a new 5G modem as well as a new 5G RFFE system. Both of which are becoming available to OEMs and can be used separately or together to further improve the 5G mobile experience going forward.