June 20, 2021

Qualcomm expects new 315 5G IoT modem to make it easy and cheap for factories to go wireless

The chip supports 5G standalone architecture and is pin-to-pin compatible with existing LTE modules. Image:…


The chip supports 5G standalone architecture and is pin-to-pin compatible with existing LTE modules.

Image: iStockphoto/d1sk

Qualcomm’s latest IoT product—the 315 5G IoT modem—is built to meet the operational demands of industrial settings and to make upgrading existing equipment easy. The modem was built for industrial and enterprise applications, provides gigabit connectivity, operates with low power and has new thermal-efficient capabilities, according to a press release from the company. 

Vieri Vanghi, vice president of product management, said that the Qualcomm 315 5G IoT modem was built to meet the physical demands of manufacturing plants and to complement existing 5G devices companies already have in place. The chip can work in conditions ranging from -40 to 85 degrees celsius, Vanghi said.  

 “The most important thing is that this device will enable smaller form factors than what you typically see today,” he said. 

Also, the chip supports 4G and 5G connections and 5G stand-alone mode, but not older technologies. 

SEE: Future of 5G: Projections, rollouts, use cases, and more (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

“By deprecating some non-standalone connections, that gives us a smaller form factor and better efficiency,” he said.

Vanghi said that data rates are less than those on some of the company’s mobile broadband chips and that this tradeoff allowed Qualcomm to make this chip smaller and more affordable. 

“We have a reference design that enables much a smaller footprint, a 50% reduction if you look at the module level,” he said.

Another design element of the modem is that it is pin-to-pin compatible with LTE modules.

Vanghi said this means that the new chip can be swapped into existing devices, allowing customers to bring 5G connectivity to existing infrastructure.

The other specs for the Qualcomm 315 5G iOT modem are: 

  • 5G to 4G multi-mode support
  • 5G/4G spectrum sharing
  • Average power tracking
  • Antenna tuning support
  • Dual-frequency GNSS location
  • Hardware-based security framework
  • Support for any band below 6 GHz

Powering wireless factories

The company expects the IoT modem to power many industrial IoT needs in industry segments ranging from energy, automation and manufacturing to precision agricultural, construction and mining. Qualcomm expects customers to use this modem to reconfigure factories and move from a wired facility to a wireless one. 

Vanghi described these use cases for the modem:

  • 5G private/public network
  • Smart HUD surveillance
  • Factory automation
  • Autonomous guided vehicle
  • Predictive maintenance
  • On-premise edge analytics and data storage

Benoit Jacquemin, innovation director industry business at Schneider Electric, said in a press release that the 315 5G IoT modem addresses the specific needs for massive bandwidth, reliability and performance across industries. 

“This technology has the potential to become a catalyst of digitization, helping unlock unprecedented opportunities and efficiencies in innovative 5G industrial applications,” he said.

Sander Rotmensen, director of industrial wireless communication at Siemens AG, Digital Industries, said in a press release that the new modem shows Qualcomm’s commitment to drive the digital transformation of industry and state-of-the-art industrial 5G products.

The Qualcomm 315 5G IoT modem is expected to be commercially available in the second half of 2021. Qualcomm sent the chipset to selected customers in late May. The product will be on an extended life program. 

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