Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, have completed China’s first end-to-end data call using new cellular Internet of Things (IoT) eMTC/Cat-M1 technology. The test was achieved in the lab of the research division of China Mobile – China Mobile Research Institute (CMRI) – on November 11, 2016, during a data call using Qualcomm Technologies MDM9206 LTE modem, and communicating live over the air to Ericsson’s radio access network.

The call focused on the evaluation of eMTC/Cat-M1, a new cellular IoT technology that was standardized in 3GPP Release 13 for low-power wide-area (LPWA) applications and services. The technology is suited to support many LPWA use cases requiring higher mobility support, including vehicle telematics, consumer wearables, and more. It achieves better performance than the existing 4G technology in terminal cost, standby time and coverage.

Ericsson is working closely with leading companies to accelerate the pace of development and commercialization of the ecosystem for cellular IoT solutions. The commercial software product for eMTC/Cat-M1 will be available at the end of 2016, together with support from the Ericsson Radio System.

Vieri Vanghi, Vice President, Product Management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., says: “We are very pleased with China Mobile’s successful end-to-end data call utilizing cellular IoT eMTC/Cat-M1 technology based on our MDM9206 modem. This is an important milestone that supports the delivery of a new range of IoT services, including smart energy, asset tracking, industrial control and automation, and building security. We look forward to further working with China Mobile and Ericsson to bring these types of services to users in China.”

Chris Houghton, Head of Region North East Asia, Ericsson, says: “Ericsson is pleased to collaborate with China Mobile and Qualcomm to embrace the opportunities of cellular IoT. With our global leadership and experience in IoT, we will work hand in hand with our customers and partners to realize the full potential of the Networked Society.”

The MDM9206 modem represents Qualcomm Technologies’ latest innovation, supporting low-power, low-bandwidth and cost efficient IoT applications and services. It is designed to support LTE category M1, upgradeable to LTE M1+ NB-1 dual mode with an anticipated upcoming software update.

The dual-mode approach combines the best of both technologies and provides a global, scalable solution for IoT products, well suited for a diverse set of operator deployments. The category M1 and NB-1 LTE modes designed in the MDM9206 modem bring many enhancements and optimizations to LTE that will help reduce IoT device complexity. The new technologies can also coexist with today’s LTE infrastructure and spectrum, which offers a superior solution to proprietary technologies for LPWA networks. 

Qualcomm Technologies announced the Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G modem, making Qualcomm the first company to announce a commercial 5G modem chipset solution.  It is designed to support original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that are building the next generation of cellular devices, as well as aid operators with early 5G trials and deployments.

The Snapdragon X50 5G modem will initially support operation in millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum in the 28GHz band.  It will employ Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) antenna technology with adaptive beamforming and beam tracking techniques, which facilitates robust and sustained mobile broadband communications in non-line-of-sight (NLOS) environments.  With 800 MHz bandwidth support, the Snapdragon X50 5G modem is designed to support peak download speeds of up to 5 gigabits per second.

Designed to be used for multi-mode 4G/5G mobile broadband, as well as fixed wireless broadband devices, the Snapdragon X50 5G modem can be paired with a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor with an integrated Gigabit LTE modem and interwork cohesively via dual-connectivity. Gigabit LTE will become an essential pillar for the 5G mobile experience, as it can provide a wide coverage layer for nascent 5G networks.

With the Snapdragon X50 5G modem, operators deploying mmWave 5G networks can now work closely with QTI to conduct lab tests, field trials and early network deployments. Additionally, OEMs utilizing the Snapdragon X50 5G modem will have an opportunity to gain an early start in optimizing their devices for the unique challenges associated with integrating mmWave. Incorporating the Snapdragon X50 5G modem in devices on a live 5G network can yield valuable insight into the challenges of integrating emerging technologies in form-factor accurate devices. QTI will utilize these insights to help accelerate the standardization and commercialization of 5G New Radio (NR), the global standard for 5G.

For consumers, enhanced mobile broadband supported by 5G will bring unprecedented immediacy between mobile users and cloud services, enhancing media consumption, improving media generation and offering even faster access to rich information. Additionally, the proliferation of 5G technology can make it more cost-effective and easier for multi-gigabit internet service to reach more homes and businesses.

The Snapdragon X50 5G modem builds on QTI's long history of delivering industry-leading orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) chips and technology, previously demonstrated by the company's industry leadership in several generations of LTE technology and products, as well as mmWave and massive MIMO architectures in 802.11ad products.

The Snapdragon X50 5G platform will include the modem, the SDR051 mmWave transceivers, and the supporting PMX50 power management chip. Sampling for the Snapdragon X50 5G modem is expected to begin in the second half of 2017. The first commercial products that will integrate the Snapdragon X50 5G modem are expected to be available during the first half of 2018.

Qualcomm Technologies, the leading manufacturer of mobile technology, has been met with mild controversy surrounding its Type-C USB port and its Quick Charge 3.1 technology. There have been reports questioning whether Quick Charge 3.1 is running outside the voltage specifications required for the Type-C port. According to phonearena.com, by increasing the voltage to nine volts or twelve volts, Quick Charge 3.1 allows the internal battery on handset devices like the HTC 10 and LG G5 to charge faster than usual.

Here's the issue: There are specific specifications for the USB Type-C 3.1 port, and according to those specifications, the Vbus line should be held in a range between 4.45 volts and 5.25 volts. As such, Qualcomm's Quick Charge 3.1 could possibly be running too much voltage through the line. Running too much voltage through a wire designed for a lower capacity can lead to catastrophic results - not the kind of thing Qualcomm wants to have associated with its name.

The company has since released a statement addressing the issue which was released on Monday, April 23. In the statement, Qualcomm states that every time a manufacturer chooses to use Quick Charge, they can set the voltage of the feature in order to be compatible with the USB port installed on the device. For example, LG and HTC users can decide the voltage to use with Quick Charge 3.1 in order to safely distribute the appropriate amount of voltage through the USB Type-C port.

Qualcomm's statement:
"Qualcomm Quick Charge is designed to be connector-independent. It can be implemented in a device that supports a variety of connectors, including USB Type-A, USB micro, USB Type-C, and others. When an OEM chooses to implement Quick Charge into their device, they can configure the voltage to fit within the specifications of the USB Type-C standard. We have received no reports of user experience or device malfunction issues with or without USB Type-C connectors. At Qualcomm Technologies, we are continuously working to provide the best solutions for our customers and consumers. Qualcomm Quick Charge is a leading edge fast charging solution with more than 70 devices and 200 accessories supporting one of the two most recent versions of Quick Charge, with even more currently in development."

The statement certainly provides assurance that the devices in question are engineered to be safe and charge rapidly via Quick Charge over the USB Type-C connector. Regardless of the rumors, it should be noted that both the phones and chargers themselves have been UL listed and CE Mark certified as safe when used as directed, according to Android Central. But at the end of the day, it's best to use the charging components provided by the manufacturer or certified replacement equipment to avoid any mishaps.

Digital Magazine

Dec 2016

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