OnQ Blog

Pumping up network speed and capacity with Gigabit LTE [video]

Sep 7, 2017

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

The mobile industry is on the cusp of 5G as technology leaders like Qualcomm are working feverishly to contribute to the standard. On the path to 5G, operators will continue to add more network capacity using newer 4G technologies to address the growing appetite of mobile device users who continually demand faster data speeds. Gigabit LTE makes this possible and serves as the foundation for future 5G networks, using carrier aggregation, 4X4 MIMO, 256-QAM, and the ability to operate over both licensed and unlicensed spectrum. To help explain these concepts, imagine the LTE network as a highway for trucks that carry the data you want to download…

Carrier aggregation widens the highway

Carrier aggregation adds more lanes to the network’s highway by combining multiple carriers — that is, multiple LTE connections—which provides more capacity and enables faster downloads for all users.

4x4 MIMO creates another layer of lanes

4x4 MIMO improves operator spectrum efficiency and boosts the data rate for Gigabit LTE devices. Whereas carrier aggregation widens the network highway, 4x4 MIMO adds up to two more layers of data lanes on top of the existing ones to carry more data on the same amount of spectrum.

256-QAM is a big truck that carries lots of data

The gold standard for data rates was 6 bits per signal but that data transfer volume recently pumped up to 8 bits, delivering 33 percent faster connection speeds for Gigabit LTE devices. Using our highway analogy, 256-QAM allows each truck to carry more data, which means fewer trucks are needed, which relieves congestion on the network highway.

LTE in Unlicensed Spectrum puts the pedal to the metal

Get off the congested network highway and take the side streets with LTE in Unlicensed Spectrum. LTE in Unlicensed boosts network capacity in high traffic areas like stadiums, shopping malls, airports, and more with Gigabit LTE speed for a high quality and robust user experience.

Qualcomm Technologies continues its trailblazing inventions in mobile connectivity, pioneering the world’s first announced Gigabit LTE cellular modem with the Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 LTE modem. Since then, a total of 10 Gigabit LTE-capable devices have been brought to users all over the world with this groundbreaking modem at their heart. We push the technological envelope, continually evolving Gigabit LTE network highways in order to better deliver wide-area coverage, high-speed data rates and low latency in support of countless use cases and upcoming releases.

Learn what Qualcomm Technologies is doing to bring you Gigabit LTE.


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

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