Employing advanced 14nm FinFET process technology, the Snapdragon X16 is a significant milestone, offering a glimpse of our 5G future.
Only a few months after announcing what was the most advanced LTE modem in the world, the Snapdragon X12, Qualcomm has now introduced an even more advanced modem, the Snapdragon X16…the first modem to support Gigabit LTE. The X16 supports Advanced (LTE-A) Pro Category 16 downlink speeds of up to 1 Gbps and Category 13 uplink speeds of 150 Mbps.
Employing advanced 14nm FinFET process technology, the Snapdragon X16 is a significant milestone, offering a glimpse of our 5G future. The device supports the new 3GPP-defined 3.5 GHz band for additional licensed spectrum and supports LTE-U and LAA convergence with unlicensed spectrum.
Qualcomm has been a pioneer in the cellular modem industry, beginning with its groundbreaking CDMA digital modem in the early 1990s and later overtaking entrenched GSM vendors with WCDMA which dominated the 3G market and is now the clear market leader in LTE modems. By 2006, the peak download speeds for 3G cellphones reached 1.8 Mbps, considered extremely fast at the time. By 2011, the first LTE cellphones could handle peak speeds of 100 Mbps. Currently, Qualcomm is shipping modems of several speed classes (labeled X5-X12) offering peak download speeds of 150 Mbps to 600 Mbps. The X16 boosts peak speeds from 600 Mbps to 1 Gbps on the same 60 MHz of spectrum by using more antennas (4x4 MIMO) and more sophisticated signal processing (256-QAM). And this introduction provides the first real glimpse of our 5G future.
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With the Gigabit speed capability, smartphone users can realize near-instant access to entertainment like higher-frame-rate video clips and on-line gaming and they can enjoy higher resolution videoconferencing like Skype and Facetime and video sharing like Periscope and Instagram Video. New experiences become possible, like near-instant cloud storage and access and even streaming 360o video in virtual reality. There’s no question that even newer mobile experiences will be possible with the new capability. Further, the X16 globalizes the possibility of gigabit class LTE with LTE-U and LAA because some operators have limited spectrum holdings. Through LTE-U/LAA operators with as little as a single 20 MHz block of licensed spectrum can deploy gigabit-class LTE, too.
All cellular modems require an RF transceiver which interfaces to the antennas and the outside world. The X16 is no exception and pairs with the world’s first Gigabit-class RF transceiver, the WTR5975. This single-chip transceiver solution supports all 3GPP bands, including 3.5 GHz support and 5 GHz LTE-U in addition to GNSS (GPS. Glonass, Galileo and Beidou). The Gigabit class LTE support of the transceiver includes up to 4x downlink carrier aggregation (CA) and 2x uplink CA as well as 256 QAM and 4x4 MIMO.
By introducing the X16, the world’s first LTE-Advanced Pro modem, Qualcomm sets the Gigabit modem benchmark, a significant milestone for the entire mobile industry paving the way to 5G.
Sampling begins this month and commercial devices employing the X16 are expected in 2H16.