The days of worrying about being off the grid during travel are officially over, thanks to the commercial launch of the first wireless routers featuring Qualcomm Technologies’ third-generation, 4G LTE modem solution. I could have used one of them during my most recent vacation, when the cottage I rented turned out to be “rustic” to the point of leaving me high and dry in terms of my ability to get connected.
Consumers in Japan need not worry about such things anymore. SoftBank Mobile and eAccess, one of the country’s premier networks, just announced two new mobile hotspots enabled by the Qualcomm Gobi MDM9x25 modem. The Pocket WiFi SoftBank 203Z from SoftBank Mobile and the Pocket WiFi GL09P from eAccess represent a boatload of firsts: the world’s first commercial devices based on this new Gobi chip (the third generation of Gobi LTE modems); the world’s fastest mobile routers; and the first modem capable of taking advantage of LTE Advanced (the same one used in the Qualcomm® Snapdragon 800 processor), which, uses carrier aggregation to open up new lanes on the information superhighway. Old term, but good metaphor!
Imagine delivering super-fast Wi-Fi to your devices, with screaming fast 4G as your backhaul. For Japanese consumers on SoftBank 4Gnetwork, that’s enabling downlinks of up to 110 Mbps. And that’s just the beginning. Depending on the network, the MDM9x25 is actually capable of peak downlink speeds of up to 150 Mbps!
More cool stuff about the Gobi MDM9x25 chipset? It’s manufactured using a 28nm process, it features significant improvements in performance, and it offers nearly 20 percent reduction in power consumption from previous generations.
The Gobi MDM9x25 modem is paired with Qualcomm Atheros’ AR6004 Wi-Fi chip, a dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n 2x2 MIMO solution, which provides significant broadband capacity to distribute the LTE connection to up to 15 connected users. The MDM9x25 also has an integrated ARM Cortex® A5 processor, which eliminates the need for an external application processor chip to run the IP routing protocols.
These kinds of technology enhancements and optimizations enable OEMs to design smaller devices, with more advanced features, and longer battery life. And they can achieve faster time to launch. The Pocket WiFi SoftBank 203Z and Pocket WiFi GL09P, for example, launched only one month after Qualcomm Technologies delivered the MDM9x25 commercial samples to ZTE.
If only I could have gotten my hands on one of these devices during my connection-less vacation. My work-around was to find one of those coffee shops with the green mermaid in the logo. If you don’t know the brand I’m talking about, you probably live somewhere even more remote than my vacation spot. Fortunately, there’ll be no need to go out looking for connections once U.S. network operators complete their upgrades and start offering next-gen routers here in the U.S.
* Snapdragon and Gobi are products of Qualcomm Technologies.