Last week I was able to make my first visit to Qualcomm in San Diego and spent a day hearing from executives on upcoming 5G plans, followed by several stations containing demonstrations of its new Wireless Edge Services, 5G NR plans, and enterprise IoT uses for its wireless technologies.
The embargo lifted last week and Natalie wrote about the new Snapdragon X50 5G NR modem and the operators and OEM that are already onboard with Qualcomm and working to deploy it to customers as soon as 2019. Three press releases were provided for the rest of Qualcomm's 5G Day announcements.
Qualcomm wireless edge services
Qualcomm CEO, Steve Mollenkopf, refers to 5G as the new electricity and as we have that at the center of connectivity there are self-driving cars, drones, industrial equipment, and other devices working out on the "edge" of networks and cloud services. 5G will help expand cell phone capability to billions of people while also extending functionality to trillions of things.
The new wireless edge services will be available on select Qualcomm chipsets, initially the MDM9206 LTE modem for industrial IoT, MDM9628 for automotive products, and QCA4020 for home IoT products, with expansion to Snapdragon platforms later. These services are designed to help enterprise users connect their devices in a secure and trusted manner with the ability for large scale deployment performed efficiently.
New LTE IoT software development kit
While many may at first think of 5G as providing more capacity for better smartphone performance, it seems the major change is in all of the other devices that will be connected through these new wireless technologies. To help OEMs, developers, and other IoT companies create new IoT products, Qualcomm announced a new LTE IoT SDK for the Qualcomm MDM9206 LTE modem.
The new SDK is expected to be available in the first half of this year and will be demonstrated at MWC in a couple of weeks.
5G NR demonstrations
While in San Diego, Qualcomm showed us several demonstrations that will also be shown at MWC in Barcelona. Demonstrations of 5G NR included Qualcomm's spectrum sharing technology. We saw the impact of 5G and how spatial domain multiplexing and coordinated multi-point could be used on the factory floor to provide higher capacity and better coverage with less interference.
Factories have massive amounts of ethernet cables to power and control equipment. Qualcomm demonstrated wireless industrial ethernet over 5G NR and it was rather stunning to see the same performance as a hard line being provided. The ability to free equipment from cables lets the equipment perform more tasks more efficiently.
I was personally very impressed by the 5G NR-based cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) technology where vehicles communicate over localized connections to provide a safer driving environment.