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LTE Advanced Pro nears commercialisation with new chipset from Qualcomm

Qualcomm LTE graphic

© Qualcomm

  • First Category 16 LTE modem chipset
  • Compliant with the forthcoming 3GPP Release 13 specifications
  • Supports download speeds of up to 1Gbit/s via carrier aggregation
  • All supports LAA and LTE-U for unlicensed spectrum use

Qualcomm Technologies has launched its sixth-generation LTE multimode, the Snapdragon X16, which it says is the first commercially announced LTE Category 16 chipset. Being Cat-16 compliant, it supports download speeds of up to 1Gbit/s with a maximum 4x20MHz downlink carrier aggregation across FDD and TDD spectrum and 2x20MHz uplink carrier aggregation to provide uplink speeds up to 150Mbit/s.

The X16 LTE modem also supports Licensed Assisted Access (LAA), the rather controversial technology that allows cellular LTE to be used in unlicensed spectrum, and which Qualcomm is heavily promoting and campaigning for via its LTE-U variant. The modem facilitates all major cellular technologies, frequency bands, carrier aggregation band combinations, LTE dual SIM, LTE Broadcast, HD and VoLTE.

LAA will be supported in the major 3GPP Release 13, which will be functionally frozen in March this year, clearing the way for the introduction of so-called LTE Advanced Pro – the final branded version of LTE before 5G arrives.

“Not only does the Snapdragon X16 blur the lines between wired and wireless broadband, but marks an important step toward 5G as we enable deeper unlicensed spectrum integration with LTE and more advanced MIMO techniques to support growing data consumption and deliver an even faster and smoother user experience,” said Cristiano Amon, EVP of Qualcomm Technologies.

The X16 modem pairs with Qualcomm’s new RF transceiver, which it says is the world’s first single-chip RF IC supporting gigabit class LTE, LTE-U and LAA with 5GHz unlicensed band support. Samples are available now, with the first commercial products expected in the second half of the year.

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