Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X70 modem uses AI to optimize mobile device performance and minimize energy consumption.
Qualcomm’s fifth generation 5G modem, the Snapdragon X70, adds an AI processor that improves performance across FR1 and FR2, from 600 MHz to 41 GHz. Adding the AI processor brings with it new modem features such as:
- Channel-state feedback and optimization,
- mmWave beam management to enhance coverage of mobile devices, and
- Dual-SIM cards that can operate simultaneously.
Qualcomm implements features in the X70’s AI processor, but designers will also have access to it. Thus, you will be able to create custom functions in the AI processor. “Design teams can optimize antennas using the AI processor’s machine-learning capabilities,” said Qualcomm’s Nitin Dhiman to 5G Technology World. “They can use the AI processor to fine-tune their antennas. The tuning process has multiple stages and designers can use it to optimize both the antennas themselves and antenna tuning in software. It’s not just the antenna tuning that’s possible.”
Dhiman explained how the AI processor can fine tune signal beams as well. That let’s mobile devices improve mmWave coverage by 28%, according to Qualcomm. That coverage improvement is based on tests conducted at 39 GHz in San Francisco and Chicago, explained Dhiman. “We have the ability to turn AI on and off. mmWave performance depends on the orientation of the mobile device. We took the 50th percentile of all orientations. That let us map the amount of available coverage with and without AI. We set a minimum threshold of received input power for the measurements.”
The channel-state feedback and optimization with AI lets the modem optimize performance based on network conditions. “We’re seeing double-digit mmWave performance improvements because of the increased channel predictability using AI.”
The X70 supports download speeds of 3.5 Gb/sec with its four-way carrier aggregation capability. That lets mobile devices download data across a wide range of mmWave frequencies. It also supports frequency-division duplexing (FDD) even on time-division duplexing (TDD) networks. FDD prevents downloads from taking over the device so it can continue to upload to the network. According to Dhiman, a typical TDD download allocates 90% of the time for downloading. With FDD, the device can simultaneously upload to the network on a different frequency while downloading.
The enhancements built into the Snapdragon X70 let mobile operators provide services using mmWave exclusively, in areas where it’s available. That relieves congestion to the lower frequencies and lets operators deliver services without obtaining a sub-6 GHz license. Operators can also use the X70 to deliver mmWave fixed-wireless access services.
The X70 adds energy saving capabilities, what Qualcomm calls its third generation of power-saving. It supports 3GPP Release 15 and 16 specifications for power efficiency. Dhiman said that the X70 is the only modem that supports 100 MHz envelope tracking.
The Snapdragon X70 will begin sampling in 2H 2022 with production commencing in late 2022.
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