Qualcomm Launches Snapdragon X24, World's First 2Gbps LTE Modem

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"The Snapdragon X24 LTE modem sets a major mobile industry milestone, created to provide enhanced mobile broadband and deliver an extremely important gigabit coverage layer for commercial 5G networks and mobile devices that are expected to start launching in 2019", said Qualcomm's Serge Willenegger, SVP and GM, 4G/5G and Industrial IOT.

Qualcomm says the X24 will also take advantage of License Assisted Access (LAA), a 5G technology that uses Wi-Fi frequencies to transmit LTE data. It supports up to 7x carrier aggregation in the downlink as well as 4x4 MIMO on up to five aggregated LTE carriers for a theoretical total of up to 20 concurrent LTE streams.

"The wireless industry is going to compete on LTE network into the next decade", T-Mobile Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray said on a call with analysts last week. Hardware partners looking for even more performance can choose the just-announced discrete Snapdragon X24 LTE modem. While Qualcomm is aiming to bring the Snapdragon X24 commercially in the end of 2018, we probably need to wait for some more time, with premium devices in 2019 likely to come with the new modem alongside the Snapdragon X50 5G NR modem to offer multi-mode connectivity. In the uplink, Snapdragon X24 supports Category 20 upload speeds, 3x20 MHz CA and up to 256-QAM. This technology advancement will enable faster mobile broadband speeds and greater network capacity for all subscribers.

X50 modems are expected to hit commercial devices in the first half of 2019. Qualcomm expects its 2Gbps modems to pull down real-world averages between 200 and 600 megabytes per second, or Mbps.

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In the first few years of the 5G changeover, we're going to see up-to-2Gbps 4G; a low-to-mid-band nationwide mobile 5G, which T-Mobile and Sprint are setting up, which could be about the same speed; and a short-range, high-speed 5G being laid down in big cities.

That standard, Hanna explained, supports an overlay for 4G LTE networks to get decent data rates into users' hands before networks are fully 5G-ready. It supports Full Dimension Multi-Input Multi-Output (FD-MIMO), a Massive MIMO technology that is foundational to 5G NR networks. And while most of us have marveled at the 10nm manufacturing process that is used for today's flagship smartphones, the Snapdragon X24 is built on a new 7nm FinFET process.

With the Snapdragon X24 LTE modem's fiber-like Internet speeds delivered wirelessly, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) can offer consumers incredible mobile experiences such as immersive 360-degree video, connected cloud computing, rich entertainment and instant apps. It's meant to give us a glimpse of the kind of mobile broadband we can expect with the arrival of 5G in 2019.