5G IOT modem soon to come to robots in factories, tractors in fields

5G IOT modem
5G IOT modem soon to come to robots in factories, tractors in fields

The 315 5G IOT modem runs on the slower but more reliable type of 5G known as sub-6GHz

Thanks to a new wireless processor from Qualcomm that 5G modem may soon come to robots, tractors and self-checkout lanes, among other things. The chipmaker on Thursday, unveiled its first chip – the 315 5G IOT modem, which will link internet-connected devices to superfast 5G networks.

The processor will be aimed at industrial segments such as agriculture; automation and manufacturing; construction; energy; mining; public venues; and retail. to bring better connectivity and coverage to game attendees, a stadium owner could install the 315 5G IOT modem, while a tractor manufacturer could use it to enable more-precise data collection in fields, Qualcomm said.

For addressing the needs of industrial customers and letting the 315 5G IOT modem fit in the same size package as its earlier 4G processors, Qualcomm designed the processor to be low power that means the machines will run cooler in hot warehouses and smaller than its modems for consumer devices. That should let industrial companies, without having to completely redesign their machines, easily switch 4G chips for 5G IOT modem, speeding up how quickly they can deploy them.

“Power thermal efficiency and size are the key elements as to why we felt that there is a need in the market for this type of part”, Vieri Vanghi, vice president of product management at Qualcomm said in an interview ahead of the news. “Those are important characteristics of this chipset that make it suitable for IOT and that are meant to remove some of the friction points” that prevent Qualcomm’s mobile-focused processors from appealing to customers in the IOT sphere. IOT refers to the internet of things, or devices from refrigerators to cars to factory machines that can communicate via the internet.

Compared to today’s typical 4G cellular connection, the heavily 5G technology runs between 10 and 100 times faster and it is much more responsive than 4G and Wi-Fi. Letting a greater number of devices be connected at the same time. 5G provides more capacity on the network and is more reliable than other wireless connections. The initial hype around 5G has been all about mobile, but the technology has the ability to transform more than just phones. Qualcomm wants to be the company providing the 5G IOT modem to connect everything to 5G network.

The 315 5G IOT modem runs on the slower but more reliable type of 5G known as sub-6GHz. For customers who are not ready to go all-in on 5G, one version of the chip also comes with 4G connectivity. It’s capable of downloading data at up to 1.54Gbps and uploading data at up to 330Mbps.

“Sub-6GHz is what the industry requires, for good reasons”, said Vanghi. “Most of the applications, even the ones that relate to robots and control, those are not high volume data. Those require low latency, but they certainly don’t require high data rates”.

In the US, right now most 5G networks are something called non-standalone. To make that initial handshake between a phone and network before passing the device along to a 5G connection, they need 4G as the anchor. Speeding up the connection and improving the power consumption, the next version of 5G networks, called standalone, lets a phone go straight to 5G.

The 315 5G IOT modem operates in standalone mode, which is only deployed by T-Mobile (formerly Sprint) in the US. The processor will arrive first in Europe and China because of its standalone capabilities and later expand to Japan. It’s unclear if customers in the US will use the technology, said Vanghi.

Qualcomm’s 315 5G IOT modem will ship this week to customers and will likely appear in devices later this year and early next year.

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