Qualcomm’s 10-Gigabit 5G Modem Is Here, but You’ll Have to Hang Tight for Those Speeds

Qualcomm’s 10-Gigabit 5G Modem Is Here, but You’ll Have to Hang Tight for Those Speeds
Image: Qualcomm

As we continue to transition from LTE to 5G, Qualcomm just announced the world’s first 5G modem capable of reaching data speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second.

Devices featuring Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chips, which use a Qualcomm X60 modem capable of hitting 7.5 Gbps, are just starting to hit the market. Qualcomm’s next-gen X65 modem is pushing 5G speeds even further by delivering the kind of transfer rates that previously required wired infrastructure like Ethernet or fibre optic-based broadband.

The major features that let the X65 achieve 10-gigabit speeds include support for a new fourth-gen QTM545 antenna, a wide range of carrier aggregation techniques (including FDD and TDD), AI antenna tuning, and Qualcomm’s new Smart Transmit 2.0, which uses modem-to-antenna system awareness to better optimise both upload speeds and coverage across various 5G bands.

Image: Qualcomm Image: Qualcomm

Additionally, thanks to upgradable architecture, Qualcomm should be better equipped to update the X65 with updated releases of the 3GPP spec, to potentially boost speeds even further in the years to come. And because the X65 was designed for use in devices all over the world, it supports the mmWave and sub-6Ghz bands used here in the States along with the 5G bands used in other parts of the globe.

Meanwhile, to help prevent the X65 modem from sucking up too much electricity (5G tends to be a battery hog), Qualcomm added a “next-gen power-tracking solution” and PowerSave 2.0, which uses new low-power protocols like Connect-Mode Wake-Up signal to help increase energy efficiency. And in case 10 Gbps speeds are overkill for your needs, Qualcomm is also introducing a cheaper version of the X65 in the X62 5G modem.

But it’s important to mention that while the X65 5G can handle up to 10 Gbps, even in optimal conditions, current 5G speeds tops out at around 1.5-2 Gbps, with speeds falling quickly the farther you stray from a nearby tower. If you’re relying sub-6GHz 5G, which has better range but much lower top speeds, you won’t get anywhere close to 1 Gbps. So while it’s nice to have tech that can support extremely fast wireless data, it’s going to be a while until we have 5G networks that can take full advantage of Qualcomm’s new modems.