Quectel announces plan at MWC to expand 5G IoT

  • March 2, 2023
  • Steve Rogerson

Quectel made a splash at this week’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona with announcements of modules to expand 5G into more IoT applications and a demonstration of edge intelligence and machine vision.

The company launched its 5G RedCap (reduced capability, also known as NR-Light) modules, the Rx255C series.

Based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X35 5G modem-RF system, the modules improve wireless performance and lower latency communications with 5G while providing optimisation in size, energy savings and cost-effectiveness.

These characteristics make the Snapdragon X35 and Rx255C series suitable to drive the reach of 5G technology into business verticals and mobile broadband scenarios, such as entry-level broadband, compute, industrial automation, smart city, smart energy and smart wearables.

“Introducing our 5G RedCap modules, based on Snapdragon X35 5G modem-RF system, is a critical step towards the 5G vision of connecting virtually everything around us,” said Norbert Muhrer, president of Quectel Wireless. “The Rx255C series offers a balance between cost and performance and will support the large-scale deployment of 5G into sectors where high bandwidth is not needed, but low cost and power consumption are crucial.”

Meeting the 3GPP Release 17 standards, the Rx255C series supports 5G standalone (SA) mode and a maximum bandwidth of 20MHz on the sub-6GHz frequency band. Targeting all markets worldwide, the 5G RedCap modules are backwards compatible with LTE networks and cover nearly all the mainstream carriers worldwide.

They provide a theoretical peak downlink data rate of around 220Mbit/s and uplink data rate of around 100Mbit/s, sufficient to meet the demand for data speeds in IoT applications such as robotics, DTU, drones, smart ports, smart grid, AR and VR wearables, educational laptops, and other entry-level mobile broadband devices.

The support of RedCap technology allows the Rx255C to optimise the number of antennas, reduce the transmitting and receiving bandwidth, and optionally provide 64QAM and 256QAM modulation to optimise the cost and size. The integration and architecture of Snapdragon X35 ensures the modules also have a low power consumption which drives 5G adoption in a new category of devices.

The Rx255C series supports L1+L5 dual frequency GNSS to achieve precise positioning services. They provide a wide range of interfaces such as PCIe 2.0, USB 2.0 and supplementary functions including VoLTE and DFOTA.

The company also launched a 5G new-radio (NR) module series, the RG650E and RG650V, both of which follow the 3GPP Release 17 standard. These industrial-grade 5G modules deliver performance in data rates, capacity, power saving and latency as well as reliability, better addressing the growing 5G fixed wireless access (FWA), enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), and industrial automation markets.

Based on the Snapdragon X75 and X72 5G modem-RF systems, they can work on 5G non-standalone (NSA) and SA modes. The RG650E supports a maximum bandwidth of 300MHz in the sub-6GHz spectrum while the RG650V supports up to 200MHz bandwidth.

Quectel also provides an RG650x-based system-on-chip (SoC) with Wifi 7 technology, which increases transfer speeds, reduces latency and boosts overall network capacity. Additionally, the module’s support of Open WRT allows it to provide networking features in a wider range of upstream ecosystem applications.

Integrated with a quad-core A55 processor, the RG650E and RG650V support 5G NR downlink carrier aggregation (CA), improving data rates to meet the demand for super high data speeds in IoT verticals and applications, especially for FWA devices such as CPE, home gateways, enterprise gateways, industrial routers, mobile hotspots, eMBB terminals including high-definition live broadcast, AR and VR devices, drones, and industrial automation applications such as automated guided vehicles (AGV), remote control and robots.

“We are excited to roll out the industry’s most advanced 5G NR modules based on the cutting-edge Snapdragon X75 and X72,” said Muhrer. “Our latest 5G NR Release 17 modules feature unprecedented performance and significant advantages in communication capability. I believe they will provide an excellent sub-6GHz, mm-wave and Wifi 7 option for the growing 5G FWA and eMBB markets.” 

They support Qualcomm Location Suite with GNSS HW Gen 9 v6 for concurrent GPS, Beidou, Galileo, Glonass, NavIC and QZSS. The integrated GNSS receiver simplifies product design and provides quicker, more accurate and more dependable positioning capability for applications in any environment.

On show at MWC was a visual inspection demonstration, designed for manufacturing production lines and using the Quectel SG865W-WF smart module powered by Qualcomm’s QCS8250 SoC, and industrial equipment including a camera, lens and light. This uses edge computing to deliver the real-time analysis needed to identify defective samples including scratches, dirt and abnormal surface printing on each module, screening out any defective modules during production.

An edge intelligence demonstration used the Qualcomm QCM6490 chipset with the Quectel SG560D smart module. This can detect and recognise various objects and fully use the hardware acceleration on CPU, GPU and DSP processors

Blue Frog Robotics’ Buddy, an emotional companion robot, has already captured the affection of thousands of people around the world. Using the SC66 IoT module from Quectel for its latest Buddy Pro robot, Blue Frog Robotics creates Robots for Good using machine vision and edge intelligence to drive positive impacts on social issues such as ageing populations, inclusion of vulnerable people and education.

Teksun’s Tejas Care device demonstrated how edge computing and machine vision capabilities can provide health monitoring via in-home cameras including temperature monitoring, heart-rate monitoring, fall detection, intruder detection and stress monitoring. The Teksun Tejas Care unit and SoMs use Quectel’s SC600T and SC20 modules. These are using edge computing and machine intelligence to support applications for smart cities, healthcare, automotive, Industry 4.0, home automation and logistics.