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Qualcomm Snapdragon X24 LTE modem sampling started

14 February 2018

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. At the beginning, as carriers start to roll out their 5G networks, 4G LTE is going to still be important for many mobile users. It also uses advanced massive MIMO and Licensed Assisted Access tech to help achieve these figures.

"Not a lot of operators have seven carriers", director of product marketing for modems at Qualcomm, Sherif Hanna, said. In the United States, both T-Mobile and AT&T plan to implement LAA in the coming months.

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The new modem supports 7x carrier aggregation on its downlink and 4x4 MIMO on up to five aggregated LTE carriers.

Qualcomm has started sampling the Snapdragon X24 LTE modem and, in conjunction with Ericsson, Netgear and Telstra, plans to demonstrate its potential at Mobile World Congress, the wireless industry's premiere trade show. Most likely, in many markets, operators and handset makers will opt for the X24 LTE modem because 5G networks will take much longer to deploy in most of the world versus the handful of countries where some carriers are pushing to launch them as quickly as possible. However, there are several features that distinguish the latest development from all the existing mobile modems, including the Snapdragon X20 that will come into reality with the launch of the Snapdragon 845 SoC very soon.

As we prep for the arrival of 5G connectivity, Qualcomm has made a special announcement that will be seen as the next plateau of blazing fast LTE speeds.

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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. We know our customers value faster connectivity in their mobile work environments. LTE now runs at speeds HSPA+ couldn't even dream of, of course. We can expect speeds up to 10 times faster than the average 4G network, he added. 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. 5G NR based C-V2X will enable much higher data speeds at lower latency that will enable high throughput sensor and intent sharing, and 3D HD map updates.

That means for a fully 5G-like experience, you're going to need the X24's variety of 4G, as well. By being able to support both 5G and super-fast LTE connections, devices will be able to more seamlessly make that tradeoff between 5G and LTE since the speeds will - hopefully - be more comparable.

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Qualcomm Snapdragon X24 LTE modem sampling started