OnQ Blog

Snapdragon X20 modem: Globalizing Gigabit LTE

Feb 21, 2017

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

Gigabit LTE has been making tremendous strides recently. The world’s first Gigabit LTE device and mobile network are now fully commercial and available to consumers. Several operators around the world have announced plans to deploy or trial Gigabit LTE in 2017, including three out of the four leading U.S. mobile operators. And we’re less than a week away from Mobile World Congress, where we will see the first Gigabit LTE smartphones being announced.

And this is in large part thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 LTE modem. Announced about a year ago, Snapdragon X16 is at the heart of the leading-edge Gigabit LTE devices. And because it’s integrated into the Snapdragon 835 mobile platform, consumers can look forward to many smartphones to be released throughout this year with Gigabit LTE capability.

But we are not resting on our laurels.

Today Qualcomm Technologies announced our second generation Gigabit LTE modem: the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem. It is the first-announced modem to support Category 18 download speeds up to a blistering 1.2 Gbps. We’re way past the Gigabit barrier now.

That’s a 20 percent boost in download speeds versus the previous generation. But that’s not the most important improvement in Snapdragon X20. Rather, it’s the fact that it now supports more combinations of LTE carriers, 4x4 MIMO configurations, and a higher number of total LTE spatial streams. This way, it can provide vastly expanded flexibility for more operators around the world to deploy Gigabit LTE.

For example, the Snapdragon X16 LTE modem supported two configurations to reach Gigabit LTE speeds. Snapdragon X20 supports eight configurations, using different permutations of carrier aggregation (up to 5xCA) and 4x4 MIMO.

Just like Snapdragon X16, Snapdragon X20 supports License Assisted Access (LAA) technology, which allows operators to use freely-available unlicensed spectrum to deploy LTE services. But the Snapdragon X20 has an important edge, because of its added spectrum flexibility. Whereas Snapdragon X16 reduced the requirement to deploy Gigabit LTE to one licensed 20 MHz LTE anchor, Snapdragon X20 reduces it even further to as little as 10 MHz!

The implications of this are massive. With Snapdragon X16’s 20 MHz licensed LTE anchor requirement, we expanded the pool of operators that can deploy Gigabit LTE from 16 percent to 64 percent. With the further reduction of the requirement to only 10 MHz, a full 90 percent of the world’s operators can deploy Gigabit LTE.

And this is the true power of our second-generation Gigabit LTE modem. Yes, it is designed to support even higher peak speeds and higher capacity. But more importantly, it can help globalize Gigabit LTE on a scale that simply wasn’t possible before.

There are other important new features in Snapdragon X20. It supports Dual SIM Dual VoLTE (DSDV) technology, a new generation of dual SIM technology. With many networks migrating from 2G and 3G voice services over to VoLTE, users can now enjoy the clarity of HD and Ultra HD Voice (EVS) on both SIMs. Additionally, Snapdragon X20 supports the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band, which can allow LTE networks in the U.S. to expand their capacity even further. It can even support private LTE networks for enterprise, industrial, and IoT applications.

Built in a leading-edge 10nm FinFET process, the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem is currently sampling to customers. We expect the first products powered by the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem to be available in the first half of 2018.

Qualcomm Snapdragon is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

Opinions expressed in the content posted here are the personal opinions of the original authors, and do not necessarily reflect those of Qualcomm Incorporated or its subsidiaries ("Qualcomm"). Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries. The content is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to be an endorsement or representation by Qualcomm or any other party. This site may also provide links or references to non-Qualcomm sites and resources. Qualcomm makes no representations, warranties, or other commitments whatsoever about any non-Qualcomm sites or third-party resources that may be referenced, accessible from, or linked to this site.

Sherif Hanna

Director, Product Marketing