Qualcomm announces the world's first 2Gbps LTE modem

Qualcomm announces the world's first 2Gbps LTE modem

The 4G/5G boundary is about to become really fuzzy.

If you now own a smartphone (and who doesn't these days), it's likely rocking a 4G LTE modem. That will rely not only on licensed spectrum, but on carriers using Wi-Fi airwaves to transmit LTE data, which is called Licensed Assisted Access or LAA.

"Not a lot of operators have seven carriers", director of product marketing for modems at Qualcomm, Sherif Hanna, said. "But what they do have is four or five, and now they can use those and add LAA as well on top of it". In the USA, both T-Mobile and AT&T plan to implement LAA in the coming months. The Snapdragon X20 is claimed to deliver download speeds of up to 1.2Gbps and is built on the commonly found 10nm process. The fact that Qualcomm showcased 1.24 Gbps speed in October at the company's 4G - 5G summit in Hong Kong and as soon as four months later it managed to demonstrate the same modem with 4.51 Gbps speed.

"In 2017, NETGEAR and Telstra launched the world's first commercial Gigabit LTE device and we are pleased to work with Telstra, Qualcomm Technologies and Ericsson for the next generation of unparalleled mobile devices". It's coming to flagship phones late this year and into 2019.

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The capability overlap between 4G and 5G here isn't actually all that weird; it happened with 3G and 4G, too.

When we first got 4G in 2011, 5-10Mbps speeds were common on Verizon's LTE network. We saw a live demo reaching up to 4.04 Gbps, which is quite good since the 4.51 Gbps is the best case scenario lab speed today. LTE now runs at speeds HSPA+ couldn't even dream of, of course. The demonstration previews new use cases for 5G NR ultra-reliable low latency communication (URLLC) sub-millisecond latency, including the ability to run precise command and control for high demand factory automation applications.

Despite the hype around 5G - one of the hottest trends in technology - most people won't get to use it right away. The firm's 5G efforts are central to the new 5G NR standard being developed by the 3GPP, which is a telecoms industry umbrella group overseeing the release of the next-gen spectrum, and this will be the first time such a demo takes places in the public eye. "It will allow us to basically offer continuity of service between 4G LTE and 5G as the 5G systems are being launched".

The Snapdragon X24 also offers a glimpse of our 5G future, where the internet connection to our smartphones and other connected devices is faster, more stable and available in more places.

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