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article imageQualcomm's new mobile modem is the world's fastest ever

By James Walker     Feb 15, 2018 in Technology
Qualcomm has unveiled the Snapdragon X24 LTE modem, capable of supporting 2Gbps 5G. It's likely to be a couple of years before mobile networks offer full 5G speeds. Phones that use the modem will be futureproof and ready for next-generation networks.
Qualcomm announced the modem at its 5G Day event in San Diego, California, this week. It's the company's third chip with Gigabit LTE but is the first commercial 2Gbps platform. It's a Category 20 LTE device that uses Massive MIMO technology and Qualcomm's 14nm FinFET process.
With maximum throughput now double what's possible with today's top 1Gbps broadband, the Snapdragon X24 will offer some of the fastest Internet experiences available. Downloading an app or movie will complete in a matter of seconds. The X24 can support up to five aggregated LTE carriers for a total of 20 concurrent LTE streams, so the connection should also be redundant and reliable.
While these specs are certainly impressive, the X24 is largely irrelevant for this year's mobile devices. Although 5G deployments are starting to trickle out in a few urban regions, the technology's not expected to be widely launched for another couple of years. In the interim, carriers and chipmakers will continue to upgrade their 5G capabilities, which could mean that speeds are pushed even higher before widespread commercial debuts occur.
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According to Qualcomm, the X24 is intended to continue pushing the industry towards adoption of 5G technology. The company said it has set a "major" milestone by releasing the chip in 2018, even if most devices that use it won't achieve their full potential. Qualcomm added that it expects to see 5G networks become more common in 2019.
"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, Qualcomm SVG of 4G/5G and Industrial IoT.
The X24 also has applications in industrial IoT and connected sensors. While few consumers will truly benefit from 2Gbps transfers, the X24's bandwidth and 20 concurrent LTE streams make it applicable to future commercial networks. Sensors and devices could connect to an X24-powered hub that offers reduced latency and a more stable throughput, which may noticeably improve performance.
Qualcomm's already begun sampling the chip to customers ahead of a commercial launch later in the year. The company will be demonstrating the chip's 2Gbps capabilities at Mobile World Congress later this month, in partnership with Ericsson, NETGEAR and Telstra.
More about Qualcomm, gigabit lte, lte, 5G, Mobile