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MWC: Qualcomm debuts modem-to-antenna tech

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At Mobile World Congress last week, Qualcomm Technologies, announced that the entire Qualcomm RF Front End (RFFE) modem-to-antenna solution and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform with X20 Gigabit LTE, and 4K HDR video capture, are featured in Sony Mobile’s Xperia XZ2 smartphone. 

Qualcomm Technologies is the first company in the semiconductor industry to deliver a comprehensive solution from modem to antenna ports for use in a leading premium smartphone. Utilizing Qualcomm Technologies’ comprehensive solution – including for the first time, the entire Qualcomm RFFE suite – allows Sony Mobile to benefit from system level optimization which facilitates the delivery of global platforms with superior connectivity performance and power efficiency.

The Qualcomm RFFE solution harnesses radio complexity and simplifies the implementation of global Gigabit LTE in mobile devices with a system-level design spanning a suite of RFFE products that utilize modem intelligence and are tightly integrated in a set of comprehensive global RF front end modules. It also helps OEMs to provide superior RF performance and power efficiency to support high data rates in real world networks.

Qualcomm Technologies’ modem-to-antenna solution comprises a suite of RFFE components including:

  • Power Amplifier Modules including Duplexers (PAMiDs). The QPM2621, QPM2632 and QPM2643 PAMiDs support the global low, mid and high bands respectively and integrate our suite of PAs, duplexers/filters including SAW, TC-SAW and BAW technologies, switches and an antenna coupler.
  • QET4100 Envelope Tracker (ET). The envelope tracker utilizes modem intelligence to dynamically adjust the voltage supplied to the radio frequency (RF) amplifier to support peak operating efficiency thereby reducing power consumption and heat.
  • Advanced Antenna Tuning. QAT3550 Impedance Tuner provide advanced adaptive antenna tuning. This technology utilizes modem intelligence to dynamically optimize the antenna match with the active transmit and receive frequencies to mitigate signal degradation from hand blocking, metal back designs and other effects, and is designed to improve throughput, call reliability and reduced power/battery consumption.
  • QDM3620, QDM3630, QDM3640 Diversity Receive Modules. These diversity receive modules combine our switches, BAW and SAW filters and low-noise amplifiers into a highly integrated module that is a user-friendly solution for implementing high-order MIMO and diversity receive paths for global LTE Advanced and Gigabit LTE architectures.

The QPM2621, QPM2632, QPM2643 PAMiDs, QAT3550 antenna impedance tuner, and QDM3620, QDM3630, QDM3640 diversity receive modules are supported for use with the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem and Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform.

“With the proliferation of 4G frequencies and devices, coupled with 5G devices coming soon, OEMs and operators will be challenged to deliver high-quality user experiences while considering cost- and time-efficiency in developing mobile devices that work around the globe on a variety of networks,” said Christian Block, senior vice president and general manager, Qualcomm’s RF front end business unit. “Sony Mobile’s integration of Qualcomm Technologies’ RFFE modem-to-antenna solution showcases how Qualcomm Technologies works with customers to provide the tools they need to create new devices that can address the requirements and opportunities offered by Gigabit LTE and future 5G networks.”

With increasingly crowded networks, operators are challenged to bring maximum coverage and advanced features to users. Qualcomm RFFE modem-to-antenna solution is engineered to help operators maximize the use of all licensed, shared and unlicensed spectrum assets while delivering superior network coverage, device performance and worldwide roaming. With this solution, device OEMs can scale their products globally with support of hundreds of carrier aggregation and 4×4 MIMO combinations delivering connection speeds up to 1.2 Gigabit per second LTE.

“We are pleased to work closely with Qualcomm Technologies as we continue to introduce innovative smartphones,” said Izumi Kawanishi, director, executive vice president, product business group, Sony Mobile Communications Inc. “Qualcomm Technologies’ enables excellent RF Front End performance across low, mid and high bands, and its comprehensive tightly integrated modem-RFFE interaction, provides the system level optimization we need to deliver the best-in-class mobile experience our customers expect.”

As the radio environment becomes more complex, a well-designed, advanced RFFE system is critical to the mobile experiences end-users demand from their devices and to prepare for the launch of 5G devices. Qualcomm Technologies’ comprehensive modem-to-antenna solutions are optimized to support exceptional connection reliability, blazing-fast data speeds, superior indoor/outdoor coverage, world roaming capability and long battery life.

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Money talks and electronic gaming evolves

Computer gaming has evolved dramatically in the last two years, as it follows the money, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK in the second of a two-part series.

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The clue that gaming has become big business in South Africa was delivered by a non-gaming brand. When Comic Con, an American popular culture convention that has become a mecca for comics enthusiasts, was hosted in South Arica for the first time last month, it used gaming as the major drawcard. More than 45 000 people attended.

The event and its attendance was expected to be a major dampener for the annual rAge gaming expo, which took place just weeks later. Instead, rAge saw only a marginal fall in visitor numbers. No less than 34 000 people descended on the Ticketpro Dome for the chaos of cosplay, LAN gaming, virtual reality, board gaming and new video games. 

It proved not only that there was room for more than one major gaming event, but also that a massive market exists for the sector in South Africa. And with a large market, one also found numerous gaming niches that either emerged afresh or will keep going over the years. One of these, LAN (for Local Area Network) gaming, which sees hordes of players camping out at the venue for three days to play each other on elaborate computer rigs, was back as strong as ever at rAge.

MWeb provided an 8Gbps line to the expo, to connect all these gamers, and recorded 120TB in downloads and 15Tb in uploads – a total that would have used up the entire country’s bandwidth a few years ago.

“LANs are supposed to be a thing of the past, yet we buck the trend each year,” says Michael James, senior project manager and owner of rAge. “It is more of a spectacle than a simple LAN, so I can understand.”

New phenomena, often associated with the flavour of the moment, also emerge every year.

“Fortnite is a good example this year of how we evolve,” says James. “It’s a crazy huge phenomenon and nobody was servicing the demand from a tournament point of view. So rAge and Xbox created a casual LAN tournament that anyone could enter and win a prize. I think the top 10 people got something each round.”

Read on to see how esports is starting to make an impact in gaming.

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Blockchain unpacked

Blockchain is generally associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but these are just the tip of the iceberg, says ESET Southern Africa.

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This technology was originally conceived in 1991, when Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta described their first work on a chain of cryptographically secured blocks, but only gained notoriety in 2008, when it became popular with the arrival of Bitcoin. It is currently gaining demand in other commercial applications and its annual growth is expected to reach 51% by 2022 in numerous markets, such as those of financial institutions and the Internet of Things (IoT), according to MarketWatch.

What is blockchain?

A blockchain is a unique, consensual record that is distributed over multiple network nodes. In the case of cryptocurrencies, think of it as the accounting ledger where each transaction is recorded.

A blockchain transaction is complex and can be difficult to understand if you delve into the inner details of how it works, but the basic idea is simple to follow.

Each block stores:

–           A number of valid records or transactions.
–           Information referring to that block.
–           A link to the previous block and next block through the hash of each block—a unique code that can be thought of as the block’s fingerprint.

Accordingly, each block has a specific and immovable place within the chain, since each block contains information from the hash of the previous block. The entire chain is stored in each network node that makes up the blockchain, so an exact copy of the chain is stored in all network participants.

As new records are created, they are first verified and validated by the network nodes and then added to a new block that is linked to the chain.

How is blockchain so secure?

Being a distributed technology in which each network node stores an exact copy of the chain, the availability of the information is guaranteed at all times. So if an attacker wanted to cause a denial-of-service attack, they would have to annul all network nodes since it only takes one node to be operative for the information to be available.

Besides that, since each record is consensual, and all nodes contain the same information, it is almost impossible to alter it, ensuring its integrity. If an attacker wanted to modify the information in a blockchain, they would have to modify the entire chain in at least 51% of the nodes.

In blockchain, data is distributed across all network nodes. With no central node, all participate equally, storing, and validating all information. It is a very powerful tool for transmitting and storing information in a reliable way; a decentralised model in which the information belongs to us, since we do not need a company to provide the service.

What else can blockchain be used for?

Essentially, blockchain can be used to store any type of information that must be kept intact and remain available in a secure, decentralised and cheaper way than through intermediaries. Moreover, since the information stored is encrypted, its confidentiality can be guaranteed, as only those who have the encryption key can access it.

Use of blockchain in healthcare

Health records could be consolidated and stored in blockchain, for instance. This would mean that the medical history of each patient would be safe and, at the same time, available to each doctor authorised, regardless of the health centre where the patient was treated. Even the pharmaceutical industry could use this technology to verify medicines and prevent counterfeiting.

Use of blockchain for documents

Blockchain would also be very useful for managing digital assets and documentation. Up to now, the problem with digital is that everything is easy to copy, but Blockchain allows you to record purchases, deeds, documents, or any other type of online asset without them being falsified.

Other blockchain uses

This technology could also revolutionise the Internet of Things  (IoT) market where the challenge lies in the millions of devices connected to the internet that must be managed by the supplier companies. In a few years’ time, the centralised model won’t be able to support so many devices, not to mention the fact that many of these are not secure enough. With blockchain, devices can communicate through the network directly, safely, and reliably with no need for intermediaries.

Blockchain allows you to verify, validate, track, and store all types of information, from digital certificates, democratic voting systems, logistics and messaging services, to intelligent contracts and, of course, money and financial transactions.

Without doubt, blockchain has turned the immutable and decentralized layer the internet has always dreamed about into a reality. This technology takes reliance out of the equation and replaces it with mathematical fact.

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