The Qualcomm Snapdragon X55 Modem Will Bring 5G Connectivity Globally

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In December 2018 Qualcomm announced their first 5G capable chipset which was showcased at the Snapdragon Tech Summit in Hawaii. In the event, they discussed how their Snapdragon X50 modem will bring true 5G connectivity to smartphones. It has been only two months since the announcement and the X50 hasn’t even arrived in the market but the company has already started talking about a second-generation 5G solution.

They will now release two modems chipsets the Snapdragon X50 and X55. Today we are here to discuss the second-generation X55 processor and will take a look at what upgrades it has for us to offer. So without further ado let’s get started.

The X50 is no doubt a great modem but as it is the first 5G chipset, it has some limitations. But now Qualcomm has launched its successor which is bringing in a lot of new features and upgrades. The new x55 chipset will increase the chances of getting 5G connectivity in underdeveloped areas as well, especially in smartphones.

The X50’s biggest drawback is that it is only capable of working on 5G connectivity and does not support 3G or even 4G. But the X55 on other hand offers all the connectivity options, it is a 5G to 2G modem. Alongside that, it is built on a 7nm process which makes it more power efficient.

The 4G capabilities have also been improved compared it its predecessor, now you can use LTE UE Cat22 based 4G services which will provide you with up to 2.5Gb/s download speed on the network. Also, the X55 model is the first true globally 5G acceptable modem what this means is that it supports 26 GHz, 28 GHz, and 39 GHz bandwidth.

If we compare it with X50, the X50 offers only 28 and 39 GHz bandwidth support. So what difference does it make? Basically, only the developed countries like North America have 28 GHz bandwidth support and most other countries are still on the 26 GHz bandwidth, so this will bring 5G connectivity to more regions.

Image: X55 QTM525/ fonearena.com
Image by FoneArena

Another noticeable improvement is the FDD mode which is a Frequency Division Duplex that will provide sub 6 GHz 5G connectivity, previously it was based on TDD (Time Division Duplex) which is, of course, less capable than the FDD. Most smartphones feature FDD mode but it is rare when it comes to 5G connectivity and for your information, the 5G FDD mode isn’t even available universally.
This feature will be coming in the future so you can say that the X55 is future proof.

The Snapdragon X55 is also bringing in Spectrum Sharing which allows the operator to simultaneously support 5G and LTE users and devices on the same spectrum as you see in dual 4G VoLTE options. It will also feature new QTM525 antenna which is a really great improvement as they are much sleeker allowing them to use in sub-8mm slim devices.

Image: X55 Spectrum Sharing/ qualcomm.com
Image by Qualcomm

Taking a look at the performance, the X55 is able to deliver up to 7Gb/s download speed on 5G and works on 2×2 MIMO 800 MHz bandwidth which is quite impressive. The antenna tuning and covering have also been improved, now it will feature QAT355 tuning solution which will provide better indoor coverage, longer battery life, and faster and consistent data speeds.

This will also enable to switch between antennas efficiently meaning you will always get the best connectivity no matter how you hold the devices. What this means is that smartphones use difference antennas depending on how you are holding it but now thanks to the new antenna tuning the switching will be more effective and efficient.

The X55 is also the first to come with Envelope Tracking feature that works on QET6100 which is the same as X50 but Qualcomm claims that you will get slightly better upload speeds and battery life. Another to note here is that X55 is truly global all-in-one solution which means that vendors can use this processor in non-Qualcomm SOCs.

Image: X55 Envelope Tracking/ qualcomm.com
Image by Qualcomm

To conclude, Qualcomm has done an excellent job here, their new chipset in the answer to all the 5G connectivity problems. We will soon be seeing this in upcoming smartphones and will then test it out for ourselves so stay tuned. If you have any queries then make sure to drop down a comment below.

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