Qualcomm and Ericsson have successfully doubled the range of mmWave 5G, completing a phone call over data 2.36 miles away.
mmWave is the fastest variety of 5G available, with speeds measured in gigabits. Its Achilles heel, however, has been its poor range and building penetration. In most applications, it requires base stations and repeaters to be placed every couple of hundred yards in order to provide stable coverage.
Qualcomm’s latest test, however, has extended that range, specifically in the context of fixed wireless access (FWA). Because of its speed and low latency, 5G shows promise as a broadband replacement in areas where it would be cost prohibitive to run fiber. FWA equipment can have far more powerful antennas and radios than the average smartphone, helping to extend mmWave’s range.
“With the introduction of the Qualcomm QTM527 mmWave antenna module as part of the Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System, we are empowering operators and OEMs to offer high-performance, extended-range multi-gigabit 5G broadband to their customers – which is both flexible and cost-effective, as they can leverage existing 5G network infrastructure,” said Gautam Sheoran, senior director, product management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “With this major milestone being the first step in utilizing mmWave for an extended-range 5G data transfer, our collaboration with Casa Systems and Ericsson is paving the way to implement fixed broadband services for broad coverage in urban, suburban and rural environments.”
This is a big step forward for Qualcomm and the 5G industry in general, and should help further its adoption.