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Qualcomm’s New X16 LTE Modem Supports Gigabit Download Speeds

February 11, 2016 - Written By Kishalaya Kundu

Qualcomm, on Thursday, announced a bunch of new products, including three new mid and entry-level mobile Systems-on-Chip (SoC). The company also introduced a new processor targeted specifically at the wearables sector, called the Snapdragon Wear 2100. According to reports, the company has already found its first Snapdragon Wear customer, as LG Electronics, has already announced that it will be launching “new smartwatches and other wearable devices” powered by the new chip later this year. However, along with the new processing chipsets, Qualcomm also announced the brand new X16 LTE modem, which is capable of supporting Cat.16 download speeds of up to a Gigabit and upload speeds of up to 150 Mbps.

While none of the carriers worldwide have actually commercially deployed network with that sort of capabilities, the product itself is exciting nonetheless. Qualcomm’s press release claims that the modem is the very first “commercially announced Gigabit class LTE chipset” that consumers can expect to see in their smartphones in the second half of this year itself. The X16 improves on the X12 LTE modem that was announced just last September and can be found in the Snapdragon 820 SoC. That particular modem supports download speeds of up to 600 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 150 Mbps, with support for LTE-U and 4 x 4 MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output). What’s interesting is that the new X16 modem will deliver super-fast data speeds using the exact same amount of spectrum as the X12 modem.

According to the press release from Qualcomm, the modem is built on the 14nm FinFET process and supports “up to 4×20 MHz downlink Carrier Aggregation (CA) across FDD and TDD spectrum”. Alongside TDD and FDD LTE, Qualcomm says that the modem supports legacy GSM/EDGE, WCDMA and TD-SCDMA technologies, as also EV-DO and CDMA 1X. The press release further reveals that the new modem also supports LTE-U (LTE in Unlicensed Spectrum) and LAA (Licensed Assisted Access), which should make the use of unlicensed spectrum easier for carriers wanting to go down that route. On top of all that, the X16 LTE modem also adds support for the new 3.5 GHz band of licensed spectrum, which is a new 3GPP approved band for wireless communications.