Qualcomm brings 10-gigabit 5G to laptops and home broadband

Its M.2 design makes extremely fast internet a reality.


Qualcomm wants to make its 10-gigabit 5G modem a practical reality in your PC or home internet service, and it's giving companies a helping hand to speed things along. The company has introduced an M.2 reference design for the X65 modem (plus its lower-spec X62 counterpart) to give hardware makers a "plug-and-play" option for laptops, tablets, and fixed-in-place devices like home broadband equipment. In theory, you'd have a wireless connection for your PC that puts even faster fiber internet to shame.

The M.2 card supports 5G on both millimeter wave (like some US providers offer) and sub-6GHz frequencies. Qualcomm was quick to add that software updates are providing wider support for mmWave (particularly as it rolls out in China) as well as better battery life.

The reference design is available to companies now, although it'll take some time before this translates to finished laptops and other products you can buy. Qualcomm hopes for the first solutions to be ready by late 2021.

The bigger question, as is often the case, revolves around real-world speeds. Verizon (Engadget's current parent company) only just managed to reach 4.3Gbps speeds in a trial reported days ago. It could take a long time before 5G is fast enough to justify a 10Gbps modem, and even longer before you can really use the added speed.