It was right around this time a year ago when Qualcomm introduced the X16 LTE, its first LTE Advanced Pro modem supporting up to 1Gbps downloads. Fast forward to today and Qualcomm says it's begun sampling its Snapdragon X20, the company's second-generation gigabit LTE chipset with faster downlink performance and seventh-generation LTE multimode modem.
The modem and its new Snapdragon X20 LTE receiver is the first commercially announced gigabit LTE chipset designed to deliver fiber-like LTE Category 18 download speeds of up to 1.2Gbps, a 20 percent improvement over its previous generation chipset, Qualcomm says. It also allows support for up to 5x20MHz downlink Carrier Aggregation (CA) across licensed and unlicensed FDD and TDD radio frequencies, along with 4x4 MIMO on up to three aggregated LTE carriers.
While the theoretical ceiling for downlink bandwidth has been lifted, the uplink performance is the same as before—the Snapdragon X20 supports up to 150Mbps with 2x20MHz carrier aggregation plus 64-QAM.
"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," said Serge Willenegger, senior vice president, product management, Qualcomm Technologies Inc. "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."
Qualcomm also pointed out that the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem features more advanced dual-SIM functionality. For example, as the first Snapdragon LTE modem to support Dual SIM Dual VoLTE (DSDV), the second SIM card is longer limited to 2G or 3G voice—it provides users with the benefits of Ultra HD Voice and other IMS-based services on both SIMs inserted into the device.
Finally, Snapdragon X20 LTE supports a wide range of network technologies. Using Snapdragon All mode, it supports all major cellular network technologies, including LTE FDD, LTE TDD, WCDMA, TD-SCDMA, EV-DO, CDMA 1x, and GSM/EDGE, along with over 40 cellular frequency bands and over 1,000 carrier aggregation band combinations.
Qualcomm said that consumer devices featuring Snapdragon X20 LTE modems will debut in the first half of 2018.