May 27, 2020
Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.
5G is going mainstream across the globe, and this is an exciting time to harness the low latency, high capacity, high reliability, security, and flexibility of 5G into new types of commercial devices. Today, the wireless edge transformation, which introduces a new era in distributed computing powered by 5G, on-device processing, and edge cloud processing, is enabling new immersive experiences like boundless XR. Boundless XR distributes processing through a technique known as split rendering where on-device rendering and perception processing is augmented by high-performance edge cloud graphics rendering over a high-capacity low-latency 5G connection. Distributing the processing over 5G can offer the best of both worlds – boundless mobile XR experiences with photorealistic visuals in a sleek headset.
Taking boundless XR from a vision to reality
Since first introducing our boundless XR vision less than 2 years ago, we’ve made a lot of progress. At MWC 2019, we showcased boundless XR over a live 5G network as a proof of concept. At the 2019 Snapdragon Tech Summit, we announced the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Platform — the world’s first 5G-supported XR platform. At our What’s Next in 5G press conference in February 2020, Qualcomm Technologies unveiled the world’s first 5G-enabled XR reference design that delivers an end-to-end boundless XR over 5G solution. The reference design is powered by Snapdragon XR2 and Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System, with native support for 5G mmWave and sub-6 GHz. The reference design was also tested and validated over Ericsson’s 5G network infrastructure.
Furthering our work with the boundless XR ecosystem, Qualcomm Technologies has been collaborating with Ericsson to bring boundless XR to commercialization. As part of this collaboration, Ericsson is providing the 5G network infrastructure with its radio network and high-performance distributed cloud native 5G core to deliver low-latency, high-speed wireless connectivity and enhanced XR experiences. Qualcomm Technologies is providing the Snapdragon XR2 5G reference design, which includes our optimized Snapdragon X55 modem and on-device perception and reprojection processing, as well as our system level expertise in 5G, XR, and split-rendering across the device, network, and edge cloud.
Launching boundless XR over-the-air trials
We’re excited to announce that over-the-air trials at both Qualcomm Technologies and Ericsson campuses have been kicked off, initially targeting VR applications for private enterprise networks. These networks could serve a broad number of use cases, such as the factory of the future, immersive gaming, training, education, health care, and retail. As part of the trials, Qualcomm Research, a division of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., is optimizing the Snapdragon X55 modem for delivering boundless XR at scale. Unlike traditional smartphone eMBB (enhanced Mobile Broadband) traffic, XR traffic requires stringent 5G airlink latencies. We are working on 5G airlink optimizations to meet the packet latency targets with sufficient margin. These latency improvements translate to more efficient utilization of spectrum and a larger system capacity, which is essential for scaling boundless XR.
In addition to latency requirements, XR applications, especially in gaming uses cases, may have rapid roll, pitch, yaw, and translational user movements that can cause increased packet error rates over the 5G airlink. mmWave beam management on Snapdragon X55 will be validated for rapid user motion. Optimizing modem power is also important for boundless XR due to low latency and high-bandwidth traffic requirements, so Qualcomm Technologies is working with Ericsson to optimize the 5G airlink to reduce end-user power consumption and enhance battery life.
We look forward to showcasing our breakthrough technologies for boundless XR that will transform how the world connects, computes, and communicates. Our portfolio of end-to-end optimization techniques for XR are the perfect match to solve complex system challenges that will enable the mass deployment of boundless XR. The learning from our trials and testbeds will have a tight feedback loop for improving our product roadmap as well as feeding into emerging 3GPP standards.
Stay tuned for upcoming blogs and webinar where we will share more details of our live 5G over-the-air VR private network and performance results.