Here’s why Qualcomm’s new RF filter opens the door for 5G

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Qualcomm announces the upcoming availability of a new radio frequency (RF) filter. The so-called ultraBAW filters signals transmitted through frequency bands between 2.7 and 7.2 GHz, allowing optimal connectivity between wireless devices and Wi-Fi 6 routers. How does it work, and why does it matter?

Most wireless devices have multiple radio frequency (RF) filters. Smartphones, laptops, vehicles, IoT devices, and so on. RF filters isolate signals with frequencies and wavelengths that match a device’s intended use. Sounds abstract — and it is. Hence. we clarify with the following example.

When connecting a smartphone to a 5Ghz Wi-Fi 6 router, the RF filter takes care of isolating the 5Ghz Wi-Fi signal. When calling a phone number with a 4G device, the RF filter provides isolation of the frequency bands that satellites in the region of the caller transmit on. While said frequency bands differ per country, Dutch provider KPN’s masts serve as an example, sending 4G at 1.8- and 2.6 GHz, favouring RF filters with a similar range.

The importance of Qualcomm’s new RF filter revolves around the variation of the frequencies and wavelengths at which devices like satellites and routers transmit. These frequencies and wavelengths vary over time. The ancient 2G network relied on different frequencies than 4G and 5G. Technology evolves, frequencies get higher and wavelengths get shorter. RF filters must be developed adjacent to the development of transmission technology — and Qualcomm is one of the manufacturers succeeding in doing so.

The ultraBAW RF filter introduced today isolates frequencies between 2.7- and 7.2 GHz. Right up the alley of modern Wi-Fi routers, which regularly transmit on the frequency bands of 6 GHz (Wi-Fi 6E), 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz (Wi-Fi 6).

Build-up

The ultraBAW serves to complement the ultraSAW, a 600 MHz to 2.7 GHz filter introduced in early 2020. The range of the ultraSAW focuses on receiving 5G signals, which are currently starting to be transmitted throughout Europe on lower frequency bands such as 700-, 1400- and 2100-MHz.

Packing the already available ultraSAW and soon-to-be ultraBAW into one device sums up to an excellent range for both 5G and modern Wi-Fi waves.

A Qualcomm spokesman reports that devices with such combinations will start to appear in the second half of 2022. “The new ultraBAW RF is to enable the next generation of mobile devices, laptops and various solutions for IoT and automotive to reap the benefits of both 5G and Wi-Fi.”

Tip: ‘Industry 4.0 nearby as presence of 5G and edge computing grows’