Qualcomm intros Gigabit class LTE modem, the Snapdragon X16

Posing the question: "Is it 4G or 5G?" in its marketing material, Qualcomm Technologies (NASDAQ:QCOM) introduced its sixth-generation discrete LTE multimode chipset, the Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 LTE modem, which it says is the first commercially announced Gigabit Class LTE chipset designed to deliver fiber-like LTE Category 6 download speeds of up to 1 Gbps.

The product also supports up to 4x20 MHz downlink Carrier Aggregation (CA) across FDD and TDD spectrum with 256-QAM and 2x20 MHz uplink carrier aggregation plus 64-QAM for uplink speeds up to 150 Mbps.

Qualcomm says the highly scalable architecture in the X16 LTE modem will allow the company to rapidly evolve its modem product line to address a range of connected applications, ranging from ultra-fast mobile broadband to power-efficient connectivity for Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

The Snapdragon X16 LTE modem also supports Licensed Assisted Access (LAA), becoming the mobile industry's first commercially announced LTE Advanced Pro modem, according to Qualcomm. LTE Advanced Pro, beginning with 3GPP Release 13, marks a significant next phase for 4G that expands the technology into new applications and usage models.

Source: Qualcomm

The specifications show just how much more runway LTE offers before the industry sits down to write the standards for 5G.

The Snapdragon X16 LTE modem is designed to reach Gigabit Class LTE speeds using the same amount of spectrum as Category 9 devices. By using carrier aggregation and 4x4 MIMO, the Snapdragon X16 LTE modem can receive 10 unique streams of data using only three 20 MHz carriers. Its support for 256-QAM boosts peak throughput of each stream from ~75 Mbps to ~100 Mbps, with additional gains possible with modem data compression. With support for LAA as well as LTE-U, the combination reduces the amount of licensed spectrum required, to 40 MHz or less, to expand the number of operators that can deploy Gigabit Class LTE speeds around the world.

Snapdragon X16 LTE modem, WTR5975 and QET4100 samples are available now, with the first commercial products expected in the second half of this year.

Last week, the company gave media a sneak preview of some demos it plans to show at Mobile World Congress 2016, which takes place Feb. 22-25 in Barcelona, Spain. One demo combines both the uplink and downlink in an enhanced LAA scenario, while another involves a 28 GHz 5G millimeter wave system that uses beam forming, beam switching and a lot of tiny antennas to transmit data and video.

For more:
- see the press release

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