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FWA breakthroughs show promise of 5G mmWave for extended ranges

Sep 17, 2020

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

In Australia, Qualcomm Technologies, Casa Systems and Ericsson in completing the world’s first extended-range 5G NR data call over mmWave.

Since Qualcomm’s inception, our goal has always been to invent the breakthrough technologies that enable our customers and partners to compete, innovate, and grow globally.

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QTM527 mmWave antenna module

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Last year in September, we debuted the Qualcomm QTM527 mmWave Antenna module, the world’s first announced fully-integrated extended-range mmWave antenna module built specifically for 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) designs. Paired with our Qualcomm Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System, the QTM527 delivers a comprehensive modem-to-antenna solution to OEMs designing high performance 5G mmWave CPE designs. Today, over 30 OEMs have chosen the Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF system for more than 80 fixed wireless access (FWA) products, and together, we’re achieving monumental firsts.

Recently, Qualcomm Technologies, along with Casa Systems and Ericsson, announced completion of the world’s first extended-range 5G NR data call over mmWave, which took place on June 20, 2020 in Regional Victoria, Australia achieving a connection of 3.8 Kilometers (Km). This milestone demonstrates the impressive range capabilities of mmWave technology and its suitability for fixed wireless access (FWA).


The 5G fixed wireless access setup for the extended range call in Wisconsin, the first such call on a commercial U.S. network.

Building on this milestone, today, Qualcomm Technologies, along with Ericsson and U.S Cellular announced the completion of the extended-range 5G NR data call over mmWave in the United States. This data call marks farthest-ever connection of over 5 kilometers (km) with speeds >100 Mbps on a commercial network.

These distances redefine perceptions that mmWave is limited to high-density deployment and demonstrates that mmWave can help close the “connectivity divide” and expand broadband services throughout rural, suburban, and urban communities.

This achievement is a key industry milestone that will help provide operators a cost-effective way to deliver fiber-like internet speeds wirelessly over mmWave to institutions such as schools, hospitals and town halls, and for addressing some of the “last mile” challenges particularly in rural areas.

The extended-range 5G NR mmWave calls in Australia and United states were achieved using a 5G CPE device powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System with the Qualcomm QTM527 mmWave antenna module.

These groundbreaking milestones will enable enhanced fixed broadband services and additional opportunities to utilize 5G network infrastructure for broad coverage in urban, suburban and rural environments. FWA is not only cost-effective, but a solution for “last mile” connectivity challenges that are becoming increasingly important in today’s remote, mobile-first society.

The 5G fixed wireless access setup for the world’s first extended range call, completed in Australia in June.

In addition to these key firsts, our partners in Europe are making strides in mmWave FWA. Earlier this month at IFA 2020, Fastweb announced that it’s ready to launch mmWave services, which would be the first commercial mmWave network in Europe. With our support, the operator is aiming to provide broadband to 12 million private homes and enterprises in Italy in the next four years. Plus, TIM, with support from Qualcomm Technologies and Ericsson, recently achieved a new European record by exceeding a downlink speed of 4 Gbps on a live 5G mmWave network, surpassing the previous record of 2 Gbps from January 2019. With this massive capacity, TIM has announced plans to offer 5G FWA services with Gigabit speeds for areas not covered by fixed broadband.

Exciting 5G FWA devices continue to rollout as well. Earlier this month, after using the product for the extended range call in Australia, Casa Systems unveiled its 5G consumer broadband modem with extended-range mmWave support, the AurusAI — powered by Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System with the QTM527 mmWave antenna module.

The AurusAI 5G consumer broadband modem with high-power mmWave support.

New opportunities with Extended-Range mmWave for FWA

Looking forward, we’re working with our partners to extend the range of 5G mmWave for fixed wireless even further. We’re also excited for how these recent milestones will open the door to new possibilities and use cases.

For example, small towns can benefit from connected community spaces, such as FWA-enabled libraries, gyms, or recreation centers. With 5G, unique performances and immersive learning experiences could be offered virtually to underserved communities that historically may not have had access to high-speed networks.

Another example is small local business in remote and rural areas. 5G FWA will make it easier for small business entrepreneurs to expand their reach online. Whether managing their brand on social media, processing payments, product fulfillment, leveraging data analytics to grow site traffic, or managing 3rd party vendors, having stable high-speed internet is key to the growth of a home-based business or local store. With FWA, people in out-of-the-way places can capitalize on their unique offerings, feeding young consumers' appetite for rare, local, and authentic goods

Additionally, in rural communities, 5G FWA can transform livestock farming, which requires the constant monitoring of huge amounts of data, from feed routines to breeding status. Bringing fiber to rural areas is cost-prohibitive for small and medium family farms, but with a central base station, CPEs placed on barns and other structures would enable livestock to be monitored remotely and have their data collected and updated through cameras and sensors. The future of small-scale, high-tech farming is all about live data, and 5G can make it more accessible.

At Qualcomm, we create the technologies that help the world connect, compute, and communicate. Every breakthrough in FWA and 5G brings us one step closer to delivering powerful connectivity to even more people and communities, and we’re excited to work with OEMs and service providers around the globe to do so.


Qualcomm Snapdragon and Qualcomm QTM527 is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc and/or its subsidiaries.

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Opinions expressed in the content posted here are the personal opinions of the original authors, and do not necessarily reflect those of Qualcomm Incorporated or its subsidiaries ("Qualcomm"). Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries. The content is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to be an endorsement or representation by Qualcomm or any other party. This site may also provide links or references to non-Qualcomm sites and resources. Qualcomm makes no representations, warranties, or other commitments whatsoever about any non-Qualcomm sites or third-party resources that may be referenced, accessible from, or linked to this site.

Gautam Sheoran

Senior Director, Product Management, Qualcomm Technologies