Qualcomm claims world first with NR solution for small cells

By Annie Turner 23 May 2018

5G New Radio

Qualcomm Technologies has announced what it says is the industry’s first 5G New Radio (NR) solution, the FSM100xx, for small cells and remote radio head deployments. It’s designed to work well in all environments and adapt to the needs of any network. It builds on the company’s FSM Platform for 3G and 4G small cells to support 5G NR in millimetre wave (mmWave) and sub-6 GHz spectrum.

The idea is to enable original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to reuse their software and hardware designs across sub-6 and mmWave products, to provide more robust, high-bandwidth coverage. Small cell densification, which is already underway for 4G, will be a key attribute of 5G network deployments.

Announced at Small Cells World Summit, which is taking place in London, the FSM100xx solution is expected to begin sampling in 2019 and Qualcomm Technologies is working with early access customers.

Indoors and out

According to the company, the solution has very low power consumption, but the high performance demanded by both critical outdoor deployments and challenging indoor scenarios. As 5G NR runs on higher frequencies, which don’t travel as far or penetrate walls as well as lower frequencies, it needs solutions that support uniform 5G experiences, especially in buildings where the majority of data is consumed.

The FSM100xx scales to address outdoor small cell requirements like MIMO implementations and multi-gigabit throughput, while for indoor use it can be embedded in a small unit that draws power over Ethernet.

Future-proof and flexible

The NR solution includes a software-defined modem so that OEMs can readily upgrade their devices to comply with future 3GPP releases. It also allows various options for interface splits between central unit (CU) and remote radio head. This is to give OEMs and network operators the flexibility to use a 5G radio access network architecture that best fits their needs. For example, a virtualized architecture designed to scale through the cloud or a more distributed architecture to meet fronthaul [that is the intermediate links between the centralised radio controllers and the radio heads] requirements.

Irvind Ghai, VP, Product Management, Qualcomm Atheros, a subsidiary of Qualcomm Technologies, said. “With small cells expected to play a critical role in 5G networks, we are happy to announce our highly flexible FSM100xx solution capable of supporting a wide range of use case and deployment models, and to support our customers to deliver on the promise of 5G.”

Useful read: How fast is 5G?

Image: Qualcomm Technolgies

About Annie Turner

Technical writer

Annie Turner has been researching and writing about telecoms and related areas since the 1980s. As well as 5G, she writes about smart cities, IoT, platform business models, regulation, customer experience, data analytics and other stuff – both as a journalist and in corporate white papers.

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