Qualcomm unveils Snapdragon X80 5G modem with NB-NTN satellite connectivity, AI Hub, and FastConnect 7900 WiFi 7 chip

Mobile World Congress 2024 (MWC 2024) has just started, and Qualcomm had three major announcements with the introduction of the Snapdragon X80 5G modem with NB-NTN satellite connectivity, the Qualcomm AI Hub with over 75 AI models optimized for Snapdragon processors, and the FastConnect 7900 WiFi 7, Bluetooth, and Ultra Wideband (UWB) chip.

Snapdragon X80 5G modem-RF system

Snapdragon X80 5G modem satellite

Snapdragon X80 5G modem specifications:

  • Peak download speed – 10 Gbps
  • Peak upload speed – 3.5 Gbps
  • Cellular Modem-RF Specs – 10CC aggregation in mmWave, 5CC aggregation in 5G sub-6GHz
  • Cellular Technology
    • 5G NR, sub-6 GHz
    • Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS)
    • mmWave, sub-6 carrier aggregation (FDD-FDD) sub-6 carrier aggregation (TDD-TDD), 5G FDD, 5G TDD, sub-6 carrier aggregation (FDD-TDD)
    • 5G SA (standalone), 5G NSA (non-standalone)
    • F + F ULCA, FDD UL MIMO, Switched Uplink, 3GPP R18-ready (5G Advanced-ready), 6x CA sub-6 downlink carrier aggregation, 1024-QAM sub-6, FR1 + FR2 CA
    • Supports all global 5G bands, from 0.6 to 41 GHz
  • Multi SIM: Dual SIM support Qualcomm® DSDA Gen 2 (Dual Data)
  • Performance Enhancement Technologies
    • Qualcomm 5G Ultra-Low Latency Suite
    • Qualcomm Smart Transmit Gen 5 technology supporting NB-NTN and Supplemental Uplink
    • Qualcomm 5G AI Processor Gen 2 with dedicated tensor accelerator Qualcomm 5G AI Suite Gen 3 enabling AI-enhanced performance improvements in power handling, coverage, latency, & QoS, AI-assisted mmWave beam management (mmWave (SA) range extension for CPE, and AI-based GNSS Location Gen 3
    • Qualcomm Advanced Modem-RF Software Suite
    • Qualcomm RF Downlink Boost
    • Snapdragon Satellite
    • Qualcomm RF Uplink Optimization
    • Qualcomm 5G PowerSave Gen 5 with support for Rel 17 PDCCH Skip and Qualcomm Power RF Efficiency Suite
  • Qualcomm Advanced Modem-RF Software Suite with
    • Qualcomm Smart Network Selection Gen 3 enables context-based performance enhancements for user scenarios and on-device, learning-based network selection
    • Non-Linear Interference Cancellation
    • Qualcomm DSDA Gen 2 – Dual Data with support on global bands
    • Qualcomm Smart Transmit Gen 5
    • Switched Uplink (FDD-TDD) – Globally
    • Supplemental Uplink – China
Snapdragon X80 mmWave Sub 6 GHz RF Satellite block diagram
Snapdragon X80 block diagram

Last year, Qualcomm introduced “Snapdragon Satellite” two-way communication based on Iridium services, but it was eventually dropped. Instead, the company started offering standardized 5G NTN satellite solutions for the IoT market with the Qualcomm 212S and 9205S Satellite IoT modems, and now the technology has found its way into the Snapdragon X80 5G modem designed for smartphones and laptops, as well as XR, automotive, industrial IoT, private networks, and fixed wireless access applications.

Commercial devices powered by Snapdragon X80 are expected to launch in the H2 2024. More details may be found on the product page.

Qualcomm AI Hub

Qualcomm on device AI models hub

Qualcomm Snapdragon processors have been supporting AI acceleration for a few years, but in order to simplify the implementation of on-device AI in mobile apps, Qualcomm has launched the AI Hub that features a library of over 75 pre-optimized AI models.

Models include Segment-Anything, stable diffusion text-based AI image generation, Whisper Base automatic speech recognition (ASR) model for multilingual transcription as well as translation, TrOCR for optical character recognition (OCR) on both printed and handwritten text, MediaPipe face detection, Yolo v7 real-time object detection, Open AI clip for vision and language tasks like image/text similarity and image classification, and Baichuan 7B Large language model (LLM) working with Chinese and English languages among many others.

Qualcomm pre optimized AI models

The models are said to work on a range of Snapdragon and Qualcomm platforms namely Snapdragon 8 Gen 3/2/1 Mobile, Snapdragon 888, Snapdragon 865, Snapdragon 855, Snapdragon 845, Snapdragon 778, Snapdragon XR2+ Gen 2/1, Snapdragon XR1+ Gen 2/1, and Qualcomm Robotics RB5. You’ll find the AI models on the Qualcomm AI Hub, Hugging Face, and GitHub and developers can also run the models themselves with a few lines of code on cloud-hosted devices powered by Qualcomm platforms.

FastConnect 7900 WiFi 7, Bluetooth 5.4, and UWB chip

Qualcomm FastConnect 7900 WiFI 7 Bluetooth 5.4 UWB

Qualcomm introduced the FastConnect 7800 WiFi 7 and Bluetooth 5.3 chip in 2022, and the FastConnect 7900 builds on that with a WiFi 7 radio optimized for low power, Bluetooth 5.4, and various UWB standards adding support for proximity and indoor location support.

FastConnect 7900 specifications:

  • WiFi 7
    • Generations – Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 6E, Wi-Fi 7
    • Standards – 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, 802.11ac, 802.11a, 802.11ax, 802.11be
    • 6GHz, 5GHz, and 2.4GHz support
    • Up to 5.8 Gbps data rate using 4K QAM modulation and 320MHz channel bandwidth (single channel or 160 + 160 with High Band Simultaneous)
    • Up to 4.3 Gbps with 4K QAM and 240MHz combined channel bandwidth using multiple streams of globally available 5GHz spectrum
    • Features – Passpoint, TDLS, OFDMA (UL/DL), Wi-Fi QoS Management, MU-MIMO (UL/DL), Wi-Fi Optimized Connectivity, Wi-Fi Aware R3, Wi-Fi Location, Miracast, Voice-Enterprise, High Band Simultaneous (HBS) Multi-Link, Target Wake Time, XPAN Technology
    • Security
      • WPA3 Enhanced Open, FIPS 140-2, TLS, WPA2, AES-CCMP, PAP, MS-CHAP, PEAP, EAP-TLS, 128-bit WEP, MS-CHAPv2, WPA2-PSK, EAP-TTLS, 64-bit WEP, 256-bit AES-GCMP,
      • Encryption: 256-bit AES-GCMP, 128-bit AES-CCMP
      • Protected Management Frames, WPA3 Personal, WPA3 Enterprise, WPA3 Easy Connect, 128-bit AES-GCMP
    • HBS (High Band Simultaneous) technology delivers multiple links of 5 and/or 6GHz performance
    • 40% lower power usage than the previous generation (FastConnect 7800)
  • Bluetooth 5.4
    • Audio  codecs – Qualcomm aptX, aptX Adaptive, aptX Voice, aptX Lossless
    • Audio technologies
      • Snapdragon Sound technology and Qualcomm XPAN (Expanded Personal Area Network)
      • Low latency Gaming mode with Voice back-channel
      • LE Audio
      • Spatial Audio
      • Stereo Recording
      • Multi-stream audio support for true wireless earbuds
  • UWB
    • Standards – IEEE 802.15.4z, Fine Ranging (FiRa), Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC)
    • Transmit Chain – 1
    • Receive Chains – 3
    • Features – Time of Flight (ToF) and Angle of Arrival (AoA) to enable “proximity experiences” such as digital keys, object finding, and indoor navigation.
  • Part Number – WCN7880 and WCN7881 (It’s unclear what the differences are between the two SKUs)
  • Process – 6nm

The FastConnect 7900 should be found in products such as smartphones, mobile PCs, and VR/XR headsets starting in H2 2024. Further information may be found on the product page.

Qualcomm’s announcement may also provide additional details and links about the new Snapdragon X80, FastConnect 7900, and Qualcomm AI Hub.

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