The race towards 5G is ramping up quickly, but Qualcomm keeps deploying new technologies and hurdles for consumers and its competitors, respectively - and while it's hard to keep up sometimes, there has never been a more exciting time for the always-connected world we live in.
Qualcomm has just announced that its new Snapdragon X50 modem is capable of not just 5G, but 4G, 3G, and even 2G. The Snapdragon X50 will work with Verizon in the US, and Korea ahead of the 5G rollouts in 2020, but Qualcomm and its partners are hoping to make this 5G reality happen sooner, rather than later.
Having 5G/4G/3G/2G all working on a single chip will be very advantageous for Qualcomm, as it means that we will see a truly global smartphone world thanks to the Snapdragon X50.
I've been spending the past few months dreaming of higher mobile speeds, with Qualcomm teaming with Australian telco, Telstra, alongside Ericsson, and Netgear on Gigabit LTE - but Qualcomm also teased 5G not so long ago.
Now, the International Telecommunications Unit (ITU) have decided on the 5G specifications: with the ITU statnig that a single 5G cell must feature 20Gbps of bandwidth, and include support for up to 1 million devices connected per kilometer (0.62 miles). The standard will also require carriers to have at least 100MHz of free spectrum, and where available: up to 1GHz.
The ITU published the first draft of its 5G radio interfaces a few days ago, but we should expect the final tech specs on 5G technology by November. But the tease of at least 20Gbps down and 10Gbps up is absolutely incredible, but you won't be getting 20Gbps to your smartphone - in reality, the 20Gbps will split its bandwidth across all of the devices it is blasting to.
The per-user download/upload speeds will hit 100Mbps and 50Mbps, respectively - something you can get right now on your 4G LTE device. Personally, I've hit 220Mbps+ on Telstra, on my Google Pixel smartphone - but 5G will offer 100Mbps, all the time - not just in the best conditions. The reduced latency to 1ms, is incredible - but we should expect bigger and better things from 5G once it's completely finalized.
Qualcomm is slowly moving its chess pieces around the 5G board, with a tease of Gigabit LTE in Sydney, Australia a couple of weeks ago - and a full detailing on 5G technology and its race to 5G leadership at Qualcomm HQ in San Diego, California.
Qualcomm has announced their first successful 5G connection "based on the New Radio (NR) work in 3GPP", something the company expects to "become the global 5G standard". The successful 5G test used Qualcomm Technologies' sub-6GHz 5G NR prototype system, something that is capable of operating at mid-band spectrum from 3.3-5.0GHz.
This huge speed allows for multiple Gbps in bandwidth, and better yet - at "significantly lower latency" than today's 4G LTE networks. 5G NR will take advantage of the wide range of spectrum bands, as it can use spectrum bands below 6GHz, something Qualcomm says is "critical for achieving ubiquitous coverage and capacity to address the large number of envisioned 5G use cases".
Right now, this is in the prototyping stage, but Qualcomm will handle over-the-air 5G NR trials in the second half of this year, hoping to push the 3GPP specification as the global 5G standard from 2018, into the future.
Qualcomm is on quite the technological roll, with a big show of Gigabit LTE in Sydney, Australia barely over a week ago - and now, the company has unveiled new Wi-Fi chips that will usher in the future of Wi-Fi technology.
Qualcomm's new IPQ8074 is a fresh system-on-chip (SoC) for routers and access points, while the new QCA6290 is for receivers - you know, your Wi-Fi device. This is the first end-to-end commercial Wi-Fi portfolio that supports the new 802.11ax standard, which is very, very exciting.
802.11ax is the next leap in Wi-Fi technology, after 802.11b debuted in 1999 - after that we saw 802.11g, 802.11n, and then what we have now - 802.11ac. 802.11ax is backwards compatible with all of your other Wi-FI devices and routers, but what's the main benefit of 802.11ax?
Well, 802.11ax provides increased real-world speeds, where it's up to 4x faster than 802.11ac - at least on paper. Furthermore, an 802.11ax router is capable of helping previous-gen Wi-Fi devices hit higher speeds as the new standard is capable of managing traffic diversity, and the overwhelming number of Wi-Fi networks that might be interfering with your new 802.11ax network.
Verizon has just announced its new unlimited data plan, simply known as Verizon Unlimited - which will cost $80 for an individual line, or $45 per line for a four-line family plan.
The company is calling the new Verizon Unlimited pricing as "introductory", which require both paperless billing and AutoPay to be enabled. The plan will offer 22GB at full LTE speeds, but once you hit the data cap you'll have your speeds throttled, and Verizon will de-prioritize you on their network.
If you plan on using the Verizon Unlimited plan as a hotspot, you'll get 10GB at LTE speeds - and 500MB per day of roaming data in Mexico and Canada. Additionally, you can pay $10 for a 500MB LTE TravelPass that will work anywhere in the world.
I'm literally sitting at the Sydney Airport about to fly back home to Adelaide, SA - after attending Qualcomm's impressive #GigabitLTE event where they displayed 900Mbps+ being blasted down to a Netgear-made router.
It was an incredible feat, and while Qualcomm has teased 5G just weeks ago at CES 2017 - AT&T has announced plans for deploying 5G wireless networks in two cities in the US: Austin, and Indianapolis. The new 5G-capable network will offer peak speeds of 400Mbps or better, but with technologies like carrier aggregation and more, we should see 1Gbps in "some areas" later this year.
AT&T plans to roll through its larger 'Indigo' network platform upgrade, which will be "more adaptable and responsive", reports Engadget. AT&T will use a software-shaped networking system that will cover 75% of their network by 2020, by using machine learning, and other technologies.
There's still no 5G standard established, so you won't be buying a smartphone this year that will be able to fully utilize the higher 400Mbps+ speeds, but AT&T are thinking into the future. We should expect some big things from the likes of Qualcomm, Samsung, AT&T, and others throughout the year towards the race to 5G.
Qualcomm invited tech media and analysts from around the globe to Sydney, Australia - which for me, was finally a tech event that didn't involve a 60-hour return trip - where they showed off the latest advancements with Gigabit LTE technology.
The event was held at Telstra's Experience Center in Sydney, involving partnerships between Qualcomm, Telstra (Australia's leading telco), Netgear, and Ericsson. The companies have been working together in separate, and combined relationships over the last 15+ years, but this latest partnership over Gigabit LTE is a giant leap for the entire mobile industry, and the world.
Qualcomm sat everyone down and showed off Netgear's new Nighthawk M1 router, exclusive to Telstra for 8 months - the world's first 4GX Gigabit LTE mobile router. Netgear's new Nighthawk M1 features up to 1Gbps LTE connectivity, is the perfect travel router as it supports Wi-Fi/Ethernet offloading - with the capability of taking up to 20 x Wi-Fi devices.
Security researcher Andrew Rollins has discovered 11 different models of Netgear routers that have been vulnerable to remote hacks, with Rollins even warning Netgear about the problem all the way back on August 25, but didn't receive a reply.
Rollins went public with the announcement after waiting 3 months, which saw Homeland Security throwing out a warning a few days ago, and now Netgear is finally in the fold, admitting that it knows about the problem. Netgear has announced the affected models, and will release patches... for some of them.
Here's the list of the affected routers:
Netgear has patched the R6250, R6400, R6700, R7000 and R8000 - but it's not easy, as you'll need to manually update your Netgear router, as the company doesn't have a way of providing over-the-air updates. Netgear hasn't said a word on whether they'll be updating the other models just yet, but Rollins did talk with Wired, where he said it's "not that hard to fix at all".
How many devices do you have in your house that use Wi-Fi? I'm sure there's at least a few, and if you're like me and many others - you'll have over a dozen devices with Wi-Fi, so when engineers reach a breakthrough with Wi-Fi that uses 10,000x less power - it'll make you sit up and pay attention.
Engineers from the University of Washington have achieved speeds of 11Mbps on the new connection, so it's not breaking speed barriers - but they're working on getting the speeds faster, and faster. The new Wi-Fi transmissions use 10,000x less power than conventional methods, so battery life savings on smartphones and mobile devices will improve by a considerable margin in the future.
One of the engineers, Shyam Gollakota, explains: "We wanted to see if we could achieve Wi-Fi transmissions using almost no power at all. That's basically what Passive Wi-Fi delivers. We can get Wi-Fi for 10,000 times less power than the best thing that's out there".
Ahead of next month's CES event in Las Vegas, the HDMI forum, which consists of the major players from consumer electronics companies, mobile devices and cable manufacturers have ratified a major update to the HDMI cable specification, dubbed version 2.0b.
In an announcement today, the HDMI forum revealed the update to the format includes the following capabilities:
While some of these features were enabled in earlier specifications by individual manufacturers, the ratification by the working group should mean improved functionality throughout the sector. Thankfully, the updates is also fully backwards compatible with the HDMI 2.0a specification, with no need to purchase new cables to unlock the new features. Expect to see more about HDMI 2.0b at next month's CES event in Las Vegas.