10Gbps download speeds are a bit hard to get your head around, but it’s roughly equivalent to downloading a 66GB 4K BluRay in just under one minute. These insanely fast speeds are just what Qualcomm is boasting about with its latest Snapdragon X65 5G modem. Of course, real-world speed won’t be quite that fast but the chipset should see faster and more stable 5G connections than the current 7Gbps modems on the market.
These speeds are made possible due to the fact that this is Qualcomm’s first modem featuring compatibility with the 5G Release 16 specification. Importantly, this is an upgradable platform that can support new features via software further down the line.
Designed for a tiny 4nm manufacturing process (current smartphone SoCs are on 5nm), the modem supports mmWave-sub6 aggregation (both FDD and TDD), with up to 10 100MHz carriers in the mmWave spectrum. There’s also Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS), 2×2 MIMO mmWave and 4×4 MIMO sub-6GHz, as well as new support for n259, n70, and n53 mmWave bands.
In a nutshell, the Snapdragon X65 modem supports more bands and increases the number of concurrent carriers running at once in order to hit its 10Gbps peak capabilities. Qualcomm’s latest modem also implements new power-saving functions, including its PowerSave 2.0 which builds on the 3GPP Release 16 Connected-Mode Wake-Up Signal technology, its 7th generation envelope tracking, and AI-Enhanced Signal Boost technologies. These should help battery-powered devices last longer while downloading at peak speeds. As an added bonus, the chip boasts multi-SIM 5G support too.
Achieving 10Gbps download speeds and improved energy efficiency requires close work between the modem and radio front end components. There’s a new Qualcomm 545 mmWave Antenna Module to accompany the X65 modem. It fits in the same area footprint as the previous generation module currently shipping in devices. So at least devices won’t have to become any thicker to support these new technologies.
The Snapdragon X65 modem is designed for smartphone, tablet, PC, and mobile hotspot gadgets. As well as use in fixed wireless access products, industrial IoT, and private 5G networks. We’ve only just started to see our first smartphones powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X60 modem hit the market. We’re therefore anticipating that the X65 modem will appear in a next-gen Snapdragon flagship processor destined to power smartphones and other gadgets in early 2022.