Qualcomm Unveiled Snapdragon X55 5G Chipset

Yesterday, Qualcomm introduced the second generation of its 5G modem, the Snapdragon X55. The X55 modem can use 5G in a variety of frequency ranges and allows speeds of up to 7 gigabits per second. It supports both 5G standalone networks and 5G non-standalone networks. The Snapdragon X55 modem is also backwards compatible with LTE, UMTS and GSM (4G, 3G and 2G) in the initial phase of 5G.


As the successor to X50, the Snapdragon X55 modem is already Qualcomm’s second 5G modem. The X55 modem is prepared for 4G / 5G spectrum sharing, allowing network operators to easily switch from LTE to 5G. The supported frequency ranges range from the millimeter-wave range (above 26 GHz) to the frequency range below 6 GHz. The range between 3.4 and 3.8 GHz used in Germany and Europe to launch 5G is also supported by the Qualcomm Snapdragon X55.


The Qualcomm Snapdragon X55 modem is also up to date in the LTE network. With LTE Cat22, up to 2.5 Gbps can be used in the fourth-generation mobile network. The prerequisite for such high speeds is of course that the network operator uses sufficient spectrum and bundles this via carrier aggregation. Even the highest possible modulation and the use of 4 × 4 MIMO significantly increases the speed.


First commercial handsets with the new Snapdragon X55 5G modem will hit the market in late 2019, according to Qualcomm. For the first generation of 5G smartphones, which will probably appear in mid-2019, the modem comes a little too late. It might still be worthwhile to wait a bit and not to access the very first 5G smartphones, because the first generation of new mobile modems is experience quite energy hungry and quickly outdated.


Samsung Exynos 5100 Multimode 5G Modem Released

Samsung shows the Exynos 5100 5G modem at the IFA 2018. It is a multimode modem and thus backward compatible with the previous GSM, UMTS, and LTE mobile radio standards. So far, there were only single-mode 5G modems, for earlier wireless standards, an additional modem was necessary.

Samsung Exynos 5100 modem Speeds

The Samsung Exynos 5100 5G NR (New Radio) modem is fully compatible with the recently adopted 5G NR standard (3GPP Rel. 15). The Samsung 5G modem supports both the frequency range below 6 GHz and the millimeter-wave range. Below 6 GHz, speeds of up to 2 GBit/s are achieved with a suitably equipped mobile network; in the mmWave range, speeds of up to 6 GBit/s are possible. If no 5G, but if only LTE is used, according to Samsung, at least up to 1.6 gigabits per second in the downlink are possible.



As already mentioned in the introduction, the Samsung Exynos 5100 is a multimode 5G modem, so in addition to 5G NR, LTE, WCDMA (UMTS), CDMA, TD-SCDMA, and GSM are also supported.

In the frequency range below 6 GHz, a total of up to 100 MHz frequency spectrum can be used simultaneously (eg via carrier aggregation), and 256QAM modulation is also supported in the downlink. In the antenna technology, the modem is limited to 4 × 4 MIMO below 6 GHz; in the mmWave range, hybrid beam forming antenna technology is possible.

Samsung Exynos 5100 featured only modem, no SoC

The Exynos 5100 is a pure modem, if used in a smartphone, the combination with a processor and other components are necessary. Today, however, smartphones often use a system-on-a-chip (SoC), a single chipset that combines all the important components, such as processor and modem. For example, the Exynos 5100 could also be used in a 5G router without SoC. When the first products with the Exynos 5100 Multimode 5G modem will be launched on the market, was not to be discovered at the IFA 2018.

Intel Release 5G Modem XMM8060 and 4G Modem XMM7660

With the development of wireless networks, 5G network is approaching. It’s said 5G networks will be available. The wireless industry leaders such as Qualcomm and Intel are planning the new products to meet the network upgrade. Last month, Qualcomm Inc. has announced that they have successfully trialed a 5G data connection on their X50 5G modem. Qualcomm says during their trial they were able to successfully establish a 5G data connection on the X50 modem using 28GHz mmWave frequency band, with download speeds reaching over a gigabit per second.

Intel is also following the trend for 5G network. A couple of days ago, Intel also announced the Intel XMM 8000 series, which is its first family of 5G new radio (5G NR) multi-mode commercial modems. The XMM8060 is the first modem of the XMM 8000 series. Intel also announced its latest LTE modem, the Intel XMM7660, which will be made available in 2019.


Intel XMM8060 is the company’s first commercial 5G modem as a competitor to Qualcomm X50 5G modem. As the typical feature, the Intel XMM8060 is also multi-mode supporting full 5G non-standalone and standalone NR, as well as various 2G, 3G and 4G legacy modes. Thus enabling devices to work in different locations, including large cities with 5G standalone NR (this may be a distant future) as well as rural areas that have 2G or 3G networks. This is important as 5G availability will not be available everywhere all at once, and it will take years for its roll-out to complete, just like how it took years for 4G LTE to be adopted throughout the globe. The XMM8060 is expected to be adopted in customer devices since mid-2019 at earliest. As part of the announcement, the company reiterated its plans to offer a top-to-bottom XMM 8000 family of 5G modems for various applications, including smartphones, PCs, buildings and vehicles.

Intel has kept on developing LTE modems as well. With the Intel XMM8060, the XMM7660 4G LTE Modem was also presented as its second-generation Gigabit LTE modem capable of up to Cat 19 (1.6Gbps) downlink connections. It features MIMO, carrier aggregation, 256QAM and a broad range of band support.  Intel expects commercial devices to adopt the XMM 7660 in 2019.


Intel says the series will enable a range of devices from PCs and phones to vehicles and fixed wireless consumer premise equipment to connect to 5G networks. And we will see when 5G coming.