Semiconductor and telecommunications conglomerate Qualcomm says they have reached mobile internet speeds of 1 Gbps with a 5G smartphone chip. According to the company, this achievement is the world’s first working 5G data connection on a mobile device. While the fifth generation of mobile network connectivity doesn’t officially exist yet, various industries anticipate faster data speeds and greater bandwidth to accommodate more web traffic. Since 4G mobile networks currently utilize sub-6 GHz frequencies (that have become heavily saturated with traffic), network operators are losing the ability to carry large quantities of web traffic consumers generate on billions of mobile devices, along with data sent from internet-enabled sensors in smart devices.
Although Qualcomm considers their demonstration as a significant breakthrough, their achievements are being downplayed by some industry experts. The achieved rate of 1 Gbps is equivalent to 1000 Mbps, which is fast enough to download a one-hour video (like a show or movie) of HD quality in under six seconds.
Most specifications for 5G haven’t been clarified by 3GPP, the global mobile standards body, leaving many parts of the telecom and other industries to experiment with different technologies with hopes of 5G being ready by 2019. Since 5G isn’t clearly defined, naysayers believe Qualcomm may have assumed some aspects of their demonstration results. As a result, these same skeptics don’t necessarily consider Qualcomm’s demonstration as 5G in its final form, leading many to conclude that the company’s claims of achieving a genuine 5G connection might be premature.
“It’s not a big deal,” says Professor William Webb, author of the book ‘The 5G Myth: When Vision Decoupled From Reality,’ “5G is not yet clearly defined, they’ve (Qualcomm) just postulate what they think it will look like.”
It’s also worth noting that speeds higher than 1 Gbps already exist on the 4G network. Chipsets like Huawei’s Kirin 970 for example, have offered mobile speeds up to 1.2 Gbps when used with compatible network equipment.
Qualcomm’s demonstration (which took place at their San Diego laboratories), used a Snapdragon X50 NR modem chipset as their first dedicated 5G chip on the 28 GHz millimeter wave spectrum band. According to spokespeople, the demonstration was the first and only data connection on this 5G mode. Upon completion and being ready to start shipping, Qualcomm asserts the chipset will reach speeds of 5 Gbps, which currently can’t be supported by any available 4G LTE chip.
This announcement signifies the initial steps Qualcomm has taken to thwart claims of skepticism. Regardless of where you stand on the matter, the company has certainly made some notable degree of progress on the 5G front.
You can watch video of the Qualcomm announcement below.
Filed Under: Wireless, M2M (machine to machine)