Qualcomm has been busy talking about 5G, the future network for mobile internet, for a while now. A large portion of the time, the too-good-to-be-true claims promising speeds eclipsing 1Gbps and beyond seem like a far away dream that would never arrive, but it is here now. Qualcomm revealed at Mobile World Congress it has held 5G network simulations that saw raw speeds reach jaw dropping numbers.
Qualcomm held two simulations in Frankfurt and San Francisco. The first simulation in Frankfurt, Germany was modeled as a NSA 5G NR (New Radio) network that operated on 100MHz of 3.5Ghz spectrum. Speeds increased across the board, including LTE devices. The median 4G user saw download speeds jump up from 56Mbps to more than 490Mbps for the median 5G user. Network responsiveness was 7x faster, with latency reduced from 116ms to 17ms.
In the San Francisco test, the early benefits of the expanded capacity due to the additional 800 MHz mmWave spectrum were on full display. Speeds for median 4G users dramatically jumped from 71Mbps to 1.4Gpbs for 5G users in mmWave coverage—representing a gain of 2,000-precent. Network responsiveness was 23x faster and latency was reduced from 115ms to 4.9ms.
File download speeds for 5G users eclipsed 186Mbps as opposed to the 10Mbps for LTE. Streaming capacity was also tested out. On 5G, 8K content at 120FPS and 10-bit color was streamed while LTE users capped out at 2K content at 30FPS and 8-bit color.
What does this all means? It means the network speeds will be outrageously faster in the near future, we're just not quite there yet.
The full deployment of 5G networks is still years away, but the future is very bright. Qualcomm's simulations show its claims of blazing fast 5G speeds and, as a result, a curved intake of spectrum for LTE delivering faster speeds across the board, are indeed coming into fruition after years of building up infrastructure. Its most recent test is all the more impressive because it was held in the real world.
In the meantime, Qualcomm has been working with device manufacturers and networks to implement Gigabit LTE networks to serve as the bridge to a 5G future. Its newly announced X24 LTE modem and X50 5G modem are a few of the puzzle pieces it has set in place to bring future devices into 5G.