Qualcomm Technologies has announced its first Wi-Fi 7 chip, the FastConnect 7800. Bundling the latest Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11) and Bluetooth specifications, the new chip is sampling already and expected to be available for commercial products in the second half of 2022. Qualcomm said this should be the first Wi-Fi 7 chip to launch commercially, pending the start of certification of Wi-Fi 7 products.
Wi-Fi 7, also known as IEEE 802.11be, is still in development so has not yet been approved as an IEEE standard. It includes features like 4k QAM, 320MHz channel bandwidth, and multi-link capabilities. Though, as with every standard, implementation is where truly differentiated performance is achieved. For example, multi-link can be implemented with simultaneous links or alternating links. Further, one of those links may be implemented using the narrow and congested 2.4GHz band (which could otherwise be reserved for Bluetooth or IoT devices). Design choices such as these will dictate how well your next devices will be able to harness Wi-Fi 7 speed and latency benefits, so Qualcomm Technologies’ approach is to offer a flexible solution that will include all the options.
Qualcomm said it expects the WiFi 7 system to deliver peak speeds up to 5.8Gbps, via single 320MHz or paired 160MHz channels, falling to 4.3Gbps when the 6GHz band is not be available. Latency should be less than 2ms.
One of the key features of the new system is High Band Simultaneous (HBS) Multi-Link technology. This simultaneously leverages two Wi-Fi radios for four streams of high band connectivity in the 5GHz and/or 6GHz bands. These connections can deliver the highest throughput and lowest sustained latency, while reserving high-traffic 2.4GHz spectrum for Bluetooth and lower-bandwidth Wi-Fi applications.
In addition, the new chip extends 4-Stream Dual-Band Simultaneous (DBS) into the high bands. This builds on Qualcomm’s 4-Stream DBS (2×2 + 2×2) with 5 and/or 6GHz Wi-Fi links used in concert for extreme low latency performance between access point and client or independently for multi-client scenarios. For instance, a mobile device connecting to a Wi-Fi 6/6E access point (for 2×2 backhaul in high band spectrum) can concurrently connect to an XR headset (for 2×2 fronthaul also in high band spectrum), free from the low bandwidth and congestion of the 2.4GHz band.
Qualcomm also promises high-quality Bluetooth audio with the new chip, which includes support for Snapdragon Sound. Its Intelligent Dual Bluetooth offers two radios with enhanced connections, enabling Bluetooth accessories to work up to twice the range, to pair in half the time, and speed up changing a Bluetooth connection between devices, according to the company.
Special attention was given to ensure that FastConnect 7800 maintains compatibility with all prior generation devices. Whatever generation of Wi-Fi or Bluetooth being used, FastConnect 7800 is built to provide the best connectivity. Sampling is already underway, with commercial availability rolling out in the second half of 2022.
At the launch at MWC, several companies including Honor, Meta, Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo said they plan to use the new chip in future products.
Qualcomm Technologies, Casa Systems and Ericsson announced that the companies successfully completed what they call the world’s first extended-range 5G NR data call over mmWave. The extended range data call was completed in Regional Victoria, Australia on 20 June, achieving a farthest-ever connection of 3.8 kilometers (km).
This so called “breakthrough” from Qualcomm Technologies, Casa Systems and Ericsson provides global network operators and ISPs with the reach and performance to offer fixed broadband wireless as a “last mile” access technology. Of course, line of sight communications (i.e. no trees, walls or other blockages permitted). With the increased range demonstrated for mmWave, that technology may be suitable for fixed wireless access (FWA) as well as for 5G mobile service in suburban or even rural areas that won’t require as many small cells or high density cell towers.
Network operators will have the potential to use their existing mobile network assets to deliver fixed wireless services and expand their service with ease to new areas, from urban to rural, while delivering 5G’s multi-gigabit speeds and ultra-low latency to a wider customer base within their coverage footprint. In addition, this milestone will proliferate the roll-out of FWA customer-premises equipment (CPE) devices to areas that are often too difficult to reach with traditional broadband, including rural and suburban areas, empowering more customers across the globe to access superior connectivity at fiber optic-like speeds.
The extended-range data call was achieved by applying extended-range software to commercial Ericsson hardware – including Air5121 and Baseband 6630 – and a 5G CPE device powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System with the Qualcomm QTM527 mmWave antenna module.
“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.”
“As operators look to close the digital divide and expand broadband services throughout rural, suburban and urban communities, the technology in this data connection underscores the critical role mmWave will play in the global proliferation of 5G networks,” said Steve Collins, senior vice president, access devices, Casa Systems. “This collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies and Ericsson is an industry milestone that makes it possible for operators to offer multi-gigabit broadband services wirelessly as a new broadband alternative solution using mmWave spectrum, and we look forward to delivering innovative CPE devices that further empowers the global broadband delivery ecosystem.”
“Ericsson has a long history of working with extended range across generations of mobile technologies, pioneering with 3G, then 4G and now with 5G. By collaborating with leading industry partners like Qualcomm Technologies and Casa Systems, we are able to ensure that everyone can access the transformative benefits of 5G connectivity. This achievement will open up opportunities for communications service providers around the world and how they can use mmWave spectrum for long-range use cases,” said Per Narvinger, head of product area networks, Ericsson.
5G SA Carrier Aggregation from Qualcomm & Ericsson:
Today’s announcement comes just three days after Qualcomm and Ericsson announced that they completed interoperability tests for 5G standalone (SA) carrier aggregation. Carrier aggregation allows operators to use multiple sub-6 GHz spectrum channels simultaneously to transfer data between base stations and a 5G mobile device.
The test was completed at Ericsson’s labs in Beijing, China. The connection reached 2.5 Gb/s peak speeds by aggregating 100 MHz and 60 MHz within the 2.5 GHz (n41) TDD band in a 70% downlink configuration and using 4×4 multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) technology. In Sweden, the two companies established a successful 5G SA carrier aggregation data call by combining 20 MHz in the 600 MHz (n71) FDD band with 100 MHz of spectrum in the 2.5 GHz (n41) TDD band.
Implementation of 5G carrier aggregation delivers enhanced network capacity along with improved 5G speeds and reliability in challenging wireless conditions, allowing consumers to experience smoother video streaming and enjoy faster downloads. This key 5G capability is expected to be widely deployed by operators around the world in 2021, according to Ericsson.
Qualcomm is the world’s leading wireless technology innovator and the driving force behind the development, launch, and expansion of 5G. When we connected the phone to the internet, the mobile revolution was born. Today, our foundational technologies enable the mobile ecosystem and are found in every 3G, 4G and 5G smartphone. We bring the benefits of mobile to new industries, including automotive, the internet of things, and computing, and are leading the way to a world where everything and everyone can communicate and interact seamlessly.
Qualcomm Incorporated includes our licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of our patent portfolio. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, operates, along with its subsidiaries, substantially all of our engineering, research and development functions, and substantially all of our products and services businesses, including our QCT semiconductor business.
About Casa Systems, Inc.
Casa Systems, Inc. is delivering physical, virtual and cloud-native 5G infrastructure and customer premise networking for high-speed data and multi-service communications networks. Our core and edge convergence technology enables public and private networks for both communications service providers and enterprises. Casa Systems’ products deliver higher performance, improved network flexibility and scalability, increased operational efficiency and lower total cost of ownership (TCO). Commercially deployed in more than 70 countries, Casa serves over 475 Tier 1 and regional service providers worldwide. For more information, visit http://www.casa-systems.com.
Ericsson enables communications service providers to capture the full value of connectivity. The company’s portfolio spans Networks, Digital Services, Managed Services, and Emerging Business and is designed to help our customers go digital, increase efficiency and find new revenue streams. Ericsson’s investments in innovation have delivered the benefits of telephony and mobile broadband to billions of people around the world. The Ericsson stock is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm and on Nasdaq New York. www.ericsson.com