Samsung LTE Cat 4 chipset wins kudos in benchmark study

In an independent performance benchmark study of six LTE Category 4 chipsets conducted by Signals Research Group, a Samsung pre-commercial chipset came out on top as the best performer.

"When a pre-commercial chipset takes top honors, one must also take into consideration other factors, such as stringent operator acceptance testing, which could identify problems that fall outside the scope of our study. In the case of Samsung, this issue is somewhat mitigated because it has brought other LTE chipsets to commercial status," said Michael Thelander, president of Signals Research Group.

He also stressed that using a top-performing chipset may not result in a top-performing mobile device since a poor antenna design or a non-optimized RF front-end can severely degrade RF performance.

All of the pre-commercial and commercial chipsets tested possessed Cat 4 capabilities, meaning they could support a theoretical peak data rate of about 150 Mbps in a 20 MHz LTE FDD channel. The chipsets were made by Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) (pre-commercial), HiSilicon (commercial), Intel (commercial), MediaTek (pre-commercial), Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) (commercial) and Samsung (pre-commercial). Five of the chipsets were provided directly from the chipset suppliers, while Signals purchased the HiSilicon-based platform on the open market.

Using Spirent Communications' CS8 mobile device test system, Signals measured how each chipset performed under identical conditions and captured key performance indicators to gain additional insight into why some devices and chipsets behaved differently than others. Chipsets were subjected to 29 different test scenarios that combined a mix of fading profiles, (EPA5, EVA5, ETU70 and ETU300, plus static channel conditions) and transmission modes (open loop MIMO and closed loop MIMO). The tests also incorporated different MIMO correlation factors (low, medium and high), and six different SINR values for each of the four fading profiles.

"Based on our highly-objective evaluation criteria, Samsung's pre-commercial chipset was the top-performing chipset, based on its average throughput in each of the tests and based on its individual finishing place in each of the tests," said the Signals report. Samsung also had the most first-place finishes in the tests with 19, followed by MediaTek with four, Qualcomm with three, Intel with two and Ericsson with one.

In addition, Signals ranked the chipsets for each grouping of International Telecommunications Union (ITU) channel models. Based only on the ranking of average throughputs, the winning chipsets in each grouping of tests were: static, MediaTek; high SINR with varying MIMO correlation factors, Intel; EPA5, Samsung; EVA5, Samsung; ETU70, Samsung; and ETU300, Samsung.

Signals and Spirent first partnered on chipset benchmarking studies in 2007. "With peak data rates observed at approximately 30 times higher than our first study, the results have once again demonstrated the potential of LTE and exposed the range of performance in the complex scenarios inherent in next-generation chipsets and devices," said Nigel Wright, Spirent vice president.

For more:
- see this joint release

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