Catering to the growing demand for high-speed data access, Qualcomm has unveiled the Snapdragon X24 as its newest LTE modem for mobile devices. The new modem is specifically designed to deliver peak download speeds of a whopping 2Gbps, which is twice the speed you can presently get from a fibre broadband service. It is also the world’s first 7nm process chip - making room for battery-efficient results. 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.
What makes the Snapdragon X24 LTE modem announcement interesting is certainly the 2Gbps download speeds claim. However, there are several features that distinguish the latest development from all the existing mobile modems, including the Snapdragon X20 that will come into reality with the launch of the Snapdragon 845 SoC very soon. The Snapdragon X20 is claimed to deliver download speeds of up to 1.2Gbps and is built on the commonly found 10nm process. The Snapdragon X24, on the other hand, is a future-ready modem - setting the ground for 5G connectivity.
Qualcomm reveals that the Snapdragon X24 supports up to seven carrier aggregation. This means you can expect a significant increase in the bandwidth as well as an uplifted bitrate over what you can receive from a modem that supports six carrier aggregation, such as the latest Samsung LTE modem that will be a part of the Galaxy S9 series through the Exynos 9810 SoC. Further, the new Snapdragon modem has 4x4 MIMO antenna arrays on five LTE carriers to enable a maximum of 20 concurrent LTE streams at once. There is also full-dimension Multi-Input Multi-Output (FD-MIMO) to give way to carriers to start sending their 5G signals.
On the part of uplink support, the Snapdragon X24 has three carrier aggregation at a frequency of 20MHz, two LTE streams at maximum speeds of 106Mbps, and up to 256-QAM. There is also maximum upload speed of 316Mbps, which is sufficient for uploading a high-quality video on YouTube or sharing some large files with contacts via a cloud service like Dropbox or iCloud.
If you’re thinking how the Snapdragon X24 will be of use in emerging markets such as India and China, Qualcomm has provided multi-SIM support with LTE dual-SIM, dual-standby (DSDS)+LAA feature as well as dual-SIM, dual-VoLTE (DSDV) functionality. There are also enough developments to make way for next-generation calling services, including HD and Ultra-HD Voice (EVS) and CSFB to 3G and 2G.
“As the world’s first announced Gigabit LTE modem to achieve speeds of up to 2 Gbps, the Snapdragon X24 LTE modem sets a major mobile industry milestone, designed 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 Serge Willenegger, senior vice president and general manager, 4G/5G and Industrial IOT, Qualcomm Wireless GmbH, in a press release.
Qualcomm is set to give a sneak peek at some of the core features of the Snapdragon X24 at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018 in Barcelona later this month, in collaboration with Ericsson, Netgear, and Telstra. The San Diego-based company has also announced an SDK for its IoT LTE modem (MDM9206) and a set of wireless edge services that are likely to be showcased on some connected devices at the forthcoming MWC.