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Exynos Modem 5400: World’s First 11.2Gbps1) 5G Speeds With Only FR1

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Samsung Exynos Modem 5400
Samsung Exynos Modem 5400
We all know about 5G by now. It’s the fifth-generation standard for cellular networks that enhances your phone’s wireless connectivity with faster speeds, lower latency, and massive bandwidth capacity. In fact, it reduces latency to one millisecond or lower, enabling near-instantaneous connections. If we want a future defined by ubiquitous connectivity, we need 5G technology to operate at peak levels of performance. But are we about to see this type of performance? Turns out that with Samsung engineering the Exynos Modem 5400 to achieve speeds of 11.2Gbps with FR1 only, we are. To understand how the Exynos Modem 5400 is pushing boundaries, it helps to understand how 5G communication works. There are two frequency ranges (FRs) that are defined by the 5G standard: FR1 and FR2. FR1 contains frequencies between 410MHz-7.125GHz, whereas FR2 contains frequencies between 24.25-52.6GHz. They have maximum channel bandwidths of 100MHz and 400MHz, respectively. Because higher frequency bands generally bring larger channel bandwidths that can increase data transfer speed, the early days of 5G saw more attention paid to the FR2 frequency band, also known as millimeter wave (mmWave) communication. But things are changing. As the transmitted signal propagates through the transmission medium, it gradually weakens. This phenomenon is known as signal attenuation. The higher the frequency bandwidth gets, the more severe the signal attenuation. As it increases, cell coverage becomes less reliable. There are a number of challenges in addressing coverage issues brought on by signal attenuation, so FR1 is increasingly becoming a point of focus in 5G communication. A shift to FR1 requires new thinking, but Samsung has been here before. The company launched both the world’s first 2)commercialized LTE dongle and 5G modem chipset fully compliant with 3GPP standards, after all. In a step that builds on this innovative legacy, the Exynos Modem 5400 is the first in the terminal modem industry to achieve a data transfer rate of up to 11.2Gbps using only the FR1 frequency band. But how has this tall task been achieved? Through the application of advanced carrier aggregation and modulation and demodulation technology. 5G modems make use of carrier aggregation technology, which allows disparate frequency bands to be used as if they were a single, complete frequency. This results in increased data transfer rate and better connection. In the FR1 frequency band, the Exynos Modem 5400 combines 100MHz channel bandwidth from three CCs and 40MHz channel bandwidth from two CCs, as shown in Figure 1. This allows it to provide a total bandwidth of 380MHz, which is a first for the terminal industry3). In particular, it has passed interoperability tests with Nokia base station equipment in the FR1 380MHz bandwidth4) and completed end-to-end (E2E) verification. This achievement has resulted in the modem being expected to offer impressive real-life speeds when it is commercialized – so that it can deliver noticeably faster experiences to users.
Figure1 Multiple channel bandwidths can be combined Figure1 Multiple channel bandwidths can be combined Figure1 Multiple channel bandwidths can be combined Figure1: Multiple channel bandwidths can be combined
5G communications also rely on converting and restoring digital data represented by 0s and 1s into wireless signals. The technology that carries out this process is known as modulation and demodulation, and it is a method of transmitting information by modulating signal attributes such as frequency, phase, and amplitude. Popular modulation technologies include quadrature phase shift keying (QPSK) and quadrature amplitude modulation (16QAM, 32QAM, 64QAM, and so on). The numbers in QAM refer to the amount of signal points, so 16QAM has 16 signal points with different phases and amplitudes, as shown in the constellation in Figure 2.
Figure2 16QAM constellation diagram Figure2 16QAM constellation diagram Figure2 16QAM constellation diagram Figure2: 16QAM constellation diagram
The larger the number of signal points in a QAM method, the more bits can be transmitted at once, allowing for a higher data transfer rate. However, when signals are transmitted with the same amount of power and the signal points on the constellation are closer together, the more communication errors there will be. Therefore, a larger number of signal points leads to more communication errors. But the Exynos Modem 5400 manages to increase the number of signal points while keeping the amount of communication errors low. 256QAM was the previous limit for 5G modulation and demodulation technology, but 3GPP5) Release 17 added a new standard of 1024QAM in the FR1 frequency band to improve data transfer efficiency in a more stable wireless channel environment. The 1024QAM standard leads to data transfer that is 25% more efficient than the existing 256QAM. However, for a terminal to reach 1024QAM without error, advanced design technology is required to enable the modem baseband and radio frequency IC (RFIC) to operate in a higher signal to noise ratio (SNR) than 256QAM. The Exynos Modem 5400 manages to do this. In an environment where FR1 is gradually becoming the industry preference for 5G, the Exynos Modem 5400 has achieved these groundbreaking 11.2Gbps data transfer speeds using only FR1. This achievement required combining more frequency ranges using carrier aggregation to reach 380MHz bandwidth, as well as a modulation method with a larger number of signal points based on 1024QAM technology. It has resulted in wireless communication with higher speed and performance and therefore serves as clear validation of Samsung’s prowess in advanced design technology.
The Exynos Modem 5400 has redefined connectivity with its blazingly-fast FR1-only data transfer speeds. It’s a major leap forward for mobile network operators looking to cover the FR1 frequency band. What’s not to like? By pushing the technical boundaries of 5G connectivity, Samsung is raising the bar for seamless connectivity around the globe.
* All images shown are provided for illustrative purposes only and may not be an exact representation of the product or images captured with the product. All images are digitally edited, modified, or enhanced.
1)As determined by industry public announcement dates. The rate is internal test results, based on physical-layer (PHY) throughput with 1024QAM. 2) As determined by industry public announcement dates. 3) As determined by industry public announcement dates. 4) Nokia tests were carried out with 256QAM only, achieving end-to-end data rate of 6.5Gbps. 5) The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) unites seven telecommunications-standard-development organizations and provides specifications that cover cellular telecommunications technologies and supply a complete system description for mobile telecommunications.