Qualcomm on Tuesday unveiled the Snapdragon X20 modem, a new LTE modem that crosses the gigabit carrier and features support for License Assisted Access.
According to Qualcomm, the X20 is capable of Category 18 download speeds of up to 1.2 Gbps and Category 13 upload speeds of 150 Mbps. The modem also features support for up to 5 carrier aggregation, up to 4×4 MIMO on three aggregated carriers, up to 12 spatial streams, and 256-QAM. Qualcomm noted that where its X16 predecessor only allowed for two configurations for gigabit speeds, the X20 opens the door to eight configurations using different combinations of the aforementioned carrier aggregation and 4×4 MIMO.
Additionally, the X20 offers support for License Assisted Access for carriers with an anchor as small as 10 MHz of licensed spectrum. Qualcomm said the change from the X16’s 20 MHz anchor to the X20’s 10 MHz anchor means 90 percent of the world’s operators now have Gigabit LTE within reach.
“The Snapdragon X20 LTE modem is the latest example of Qualcomm extending our connectivity leadership and puts us at the forefront in driving global deployment of Gigabit LTE worldwide, laying an essential foundation for the successful launch of 5G mobile services worldwide,” Serge Willenegger, senior vice president and product management at Qualcomm Technologies, said in a statement. “We anticipate that the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem will help accelerate the worldwide adoption of Gigabit LTE, allowing users to enjoy even faster data speeds, further improving consumers’ always on mobile lifestyle.”
Among the other features the X20 supports are Snapdragon All Mode (including LTE FDD, LTE TDD, WCDMA, TD-SCDMA, EV-DO, CDMA 1x, and GSM/EDGE), over 40 cellular frequency bands (including the newly added CBRS band), LTE Broadcast, Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) with support for Ultra HD Voice quality with the EVS codec, and single radio voice call continuity to 3G and 2G. Dual SIM Dual VoLTE technology is also included.
Qualcomm said the modem – which is manufactured using its 10 nm FinFET process – is currently sampling to customers, with incorporation in the first products expected in the first half of 2018.
The announcement comes the same day that Intel unveiled its own Gigabit LTE modem, the XMM 7560. Like Qualcomm’s X20, Intel’s modem boasts speeds surpassing 1 Gbps, 5 carrier aggregation, and support for 35 LTE bands. You can read more about that here.
Qualcomm’s X20 reveal came amid several other announcements Tuesday, including the company’s first successful 5G connection based upon the New Radio (NR) work in 3GPP using Qualcomm’s sub-6 GHz 5G NR prototype system operating in the 3.3-5.0 GHz range and a new suite of RF front-end solutions spanning from the modem to the antenna port. The latter include Qualcomm’s first gallium arsenide (GaAs) power amplifier modules (QPA5460, QPA5461, QPA4360, and QPA4361) and the next-generation Qualcomm TruSignal antenna performance enhancement solution (QAT35xx).