Qualcomm and Ericsson play nice with 5G NR mmWave call

The march toward real-world 5G connectivity continues. Qualcomm announced yesterday that it used a test device with its Snapdragon X50 5G modem and RF modules inside to complete an over-the-air data call in the 39 GHz band of mmWave spectrum, using the 5G non-standalone (NSA) mode of the New Radio (NR) specification.

Qualcomm's Snapdragon X50 5G test platform

Importantly, the test employed network infrastructure provider Ericsson's commercial AIR (antenna integrated radio) 5331 5G radio and baseband system. The two companies have long been testing interoperability between Qualcomm's user equipment and Ericsson's infrastructure, but their past interoperability tests have involved prototypes and pre-production hardware.

Some Ericsson AIR modules, including the AIR 5331

Qualcomm says the companies' successful interoperability testing lays the foundation for service providers and device manufacturers to perform their own field tests of production 5G networks and devices, and will ultimately clear the way for availability standards-compliant 5G NR phones, base stations, and other devices. Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon suggests this milestone is an important step on the way to availability of 5G networks and handsets next year.

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    • xeridea
    • 1 year ago

    I am not at all excited about 5G. 4G LTE is plenty fast enough… when it works. The issue is, the reception is generally abysmal inside any building. The higher frequency has horrible penetration through….. anything except air. Even outside it is often spotty.

    When I recently upgraded my S4 active to S7 active, I noticed the signal was way worse, generally 1 1/2 bars. Where I used to get 3 bars easy, I would get 1 maybe 2. If I switch manually to GSM, signal magically improves by 15db… but sadly newer phone doesn’t like to work in this mode, I forget if I could make calls, or just not get data.

    So going to far higher frequency, signal will go from generally tolerable, to utterly useless. Theoretical speeds will be impressive… but as wireless goes, it is impossible to get anywhere remotely close to the theoretical speed, even with perfect signal.

    This is same reason I disable 5GHz on my wireless network, I can get about double speed vs 2.4g… if within 10 feet of my router, on the same floor. for 80% of my house, 2.4G is faster, without interruptions. I got a new router last year when I switched from Comcast to AT&T Fiber, the wireless signal is vastly superior, but 2.4GHz is still best option.

      • fyo
      • 1 year ago

      The other issue is ISP bottleneck at the cell level. My current provider completely drops data coverage (both 3G and 4G) when everyone gets off work, and similar situations.

    • Phr3dly
    • 1 year ago

    I really don’t want my phone to have an NSA mode.

      • yeeeeman
      • 1 year ago

      You have 3G/HSPA+ as a backup.

    • UberGerbil
    • 1 year ago

    Well, in the US they haven’t even auctioned off the spectrum yet, let alone done the build-outs of the necessary infrastructure. So while there may be token 5G availability in a handful of test markets by the end of next year, it’s really not a tech you need to worry about for 2019. Even if you’re trying to “future-proof” yourself, spending the undoubted premium to get a “5G” handset you likely won’t have much chance to use at 5G before you replace it with something else seems like it’ll be a fool’s errand (unless you just really want that phone other reasons).

    That said… progress!

      • fyo
      • 1 year ago

      The auction process has started in most EU member states and actually appears to be substantially ahead of the EU’s “trials in 1 city per country in 2020” goal (and 2025 completed rollout).

      Current target in at least some member states is a initialx limited deployment next year.

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