Qualcomm Millimeter Wave Antennas, Modem Chips to Help Advance 5G

Today’s topics include a Qualcomm millimeter wave radio that’s deemed a 5G technology breakthrough, and Juniper Networks bringing 400 Gigabit Ethernet to its switches and routers.

On July 23, Qualcomm announced that a new antenna design and an integral modem chip utilizing millimeter wave technology are in production, and that cellphone makers already have samples. The use of millimeter wave communications is critical to the plans for 5G communications by all of the major carriers.

Millimeter waves involve radio wavelengths only a few millimeters long that bounce off hard surfaces, can be blocked by a human body, and can also be tightly focused and aimed. The advantage of millimeter wave radios is that they have the potential to deliver significant bandwidth at very low latencies. Because of this, a bandwidth of 5G will be delivered if all of the carriers and device makers can deliver communications using millimeter wave radios.

The Qualcomm solution pairs the company’s X50 5G modem with up to four QTM052 antenna modules in each smartphone, which would be on each edge of the device and contain four actual antennas.

Because of the MIMO design, the device can make use of signals arriving from any direction, including being reflected off of a building, even if the cell antenna isn’t directly visible.

As part of its 400 Gigabit Ethernet roadmap unveiled July 24, Juniper Networks later this year and in 2019 is bringing 400GbE capabilities to its PTX, QFX and MX series switch and router lineups aimed at data centers, WANs, enterprises and telecommunications. These will be used in cloud services, hyperscale environments, network backbones and data center interconnects.

The updates is the most recent step in Juniper’s push toward 400GbE, including the announcement last month of its 400GbE-capable Penta Silicon.

In addition, Juniper says plans are underway for new generations of ExpressPlus and Q5 silicon to support 400GbE and other features.