Qualcomm Technologies has announced the Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 LTE modem. It is the first commercial modem to support Gigabit Class LTE speeds – up to 1Gbps.
In late 2014, Qualcomm introduced the X10 LTE modem, which was capable of peak download speeds of 450Mbps.
It achieved these speeds by aggregating three LTE carriers, each 20MHz wide, for a total of 60MHz of spectrum. The X16 LTE modem achieves up to 1Gbps on the same amount of spectrum.
This speed improvement is achieved by using more antennas and sophisticated digital signal processing.
The X16 modem can receive 10 streams of LTE data simultaneously using four antennas, and uses better signal processing to extract more bits out of every LTE transmission – boosting the throughput of each of the 10 streams to around 100Mbps.
The X16 is also the first to support LTE Advanced Pro, the next generation of LTE.
With that, it supports a technology called Licensed Assisted Access (LAA), and has the potential to expand the number of operators that can offer Gigabit Class LTE services to their customers.
LAA and its predecessor, LTE in unlicensed spectrum (LTE-U), allow operators to utilize free-to-use unlicensed spectrum to increase the number of LTE connections supported by their networks.