Qualcomm on Tuesday announced the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem, an advanced communications chipset that offers a number of industry firsts. Built on a 10nm FinFET process, the Snapdragon X20 is Qualcomm’s seventh-generation LTE modem and its second Gigabit LTE solution.
The chipmaker says it’s the first commercially announced chipset designed to deliver fiber-like LTE Category 18 download speeds of up to 1.2 Gbps. That’s a 20 percent improvement in download speed over the previous generation although keep in mind that we’re dealing with theoretical speeds here.
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Qualcomm also highlights the fact that it allows support for up to 5x20 MHz downlink carrier aggregation across licensed and unlicensed FDD and TDD frequencies as well as 4x4 MIMO on up to three aggregated LTE carriers. Furthermore, the X20 supports integrated Dual SIM Dual VoLTE (DSDV) capability which is a first for a Snapdragon LTE modem.
The technical details don’t end there as Qualcomm additionally points out that the X20 is an LTE Advanced Pro modem that supports Licensed Assisted Access (LAA), the global standard for LTE in unlicensed spectrum. This is significant, Qualcomm says, as it allows operators to launch Gigabit LTE service with as little as 10 MHz of licensed spectrum, thus vastly expanding the number of operators that can offer Gigabit LTE service.
Gigabit LTE is expected to be the next phase in the evolution of 4G wireless technology, enabling even more speed to power complex mobile solutions as we inch closer to 5G.
Qualcomm is now sampling its Snapdragon X20 LTE modem to customers. The first commercial devices to ship with the chipset are expected in the first half of 2018.