Qualcomm Technologies has announced an antenna module designed for the customer premise equipment (CPE) used in fixed wireless access (FWA) services, extending its portfolio of mmWave modules for 5G. The QTM527 mmWave antenna module provides all the RF signal processing from the output of the modem to the antenna.

Qualcomm said the QTM527 is sampling to customers, and production will support CPE shipments during the first half of 2020. This timing is consistent with Verizon’s recent announcement that its 5G Home CPEs will be available during the first half of 2020.

Compared to Qualcomm’s earlier antenna modules designed for handsets, the QTM527 extends the coverage range of a stationary installation in a home or business. The output power of the CPE module meets the specification for class 1 equipment: more than 40 dBm EIRP with 64 dual polarization antenna elements.

Qualcomm’s module supports up to 64 elements and 800 MHz bandwidth in all the mmWave bands currently designated for 5G service: 24.25 to 27.5, 26.5 to 29.5, 27.5 to 28.35 and 37 to 40 GHz. Paired with its Snapdragon X55 5G modem, the system meets the NR standard and provides beam forming, beam steering and beam tracking, with up to 2 x 2 MIMO and dual-layer polarization for both downlink and uplink.

5G FWA will compete with fiber and cable networks to provide high speed internet service to homes and businesses. Due to the limited range of mmWave signals, the CPEs will usually be mounted on roofs or windows, ideally within line of sight of a mmWave base station.

The link distance for high and reliable data rates is not widely understood, as few FWA systems are installed, limiting the data to assess the performance in various locations and weather conditions. Nonetheless, higher output power at the CPE will increase the range or data rates, reducing the operator’s capital investment and operating expense.

Qualcomm’s mmWave antenna module will compete with similar beamforming RFICs being developed by Analog Devices, Anokiwave and IDT. Qualcomm has the advantage of integrating the QTM527 with its Snapdragon 5G modem to offer a system solution.

“OEMs will be able to quickly develop portable customer-premise equipment at scale, which operators can use to deliver fiber-like internet connectivity and performance for homes and businesses.” — Cristiano Amon, president, Qualcomm Incorporated