Qualcomm's and Intel's Latest LTE Modems for Smartphones Exceed Gigabit Speeds

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Feb 21, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    Ahead of Mobile World Congress next week, Qualcomm and Intel have separately announced the latest LTE modems for smartphones with theoretical download speeds exceeding so-called "Gigabit LTE," aka 1 Gbps. Apple sources LTE modems for iPhones from both chipmakers.

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    Qualcomm's new Snapdragon X20 modem is the first-announced modem to support Category 18 download speeds up to an ultra fast 1.2 Gbps, with Category 13 upload speeds of up to 150 Mbps. That builds upon Qualcomm's Snapdragon X16, which has a peak download speed of 1 Gbps.

    Qualcomm said the Snapdragon X20, built on a leading-edge 10nm FinFET process, supports more combinations of LTE carriers and a higher number of total LTE spatial streams. This "vastly expanded flexibility" will for more operators around the world to deploy Gigabit LTE in the future.

    Qualcomm said the first products with the Snapdragon X20 modem are expected to be available in the first half of 2018.

    Intel's new XMM 7560 modem [PDF] supports LTE Advanced Pro for up to Category 16 download speeds "exceeding" 1 Gbps, and Category 13 upload speeds of up to 225 Mbps. The XMM 7560 modem is Intel's fifth-generation LTE modem, and the first to be manufactured based on its 14nm process.

    Intel said the XMM 7560 modem is expected to sample in the first half of this year and move into production soon afterward.

    Both modems support 5x carrier aggregation, 4x4 MIMO configurations, up to 256-QAM, and other technologies. Both chips also work with a number of cellular technologies, covering most LTE, CDMA, and GSM standards, meaning that equipped smartphones will be usable on most networks around the world.

    Overall, Qualcomm appears to remain a step ahead of Intel, but it's a rather moot point for now given that Australian carrier Telstra currently has the only Gigabit LTE network in the world. There are also no Gigabit LTE-capable smartphones, although the first ones are expected to be announced at Mobile World Congress next week.

    Nevertheless, the broader availability of Gigabit LTE is on the horizon. More smartphones will inevitably support the faster speeds in the future, while AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile are all testing or plan to deploy Gigabit LTE this year in the United States, on the bigger path towards next-generation 5G networking.

    But even then, it is important to remember these are just theoretical speeds. In the latest OpenSignal testing, based on aggregated data from nearly 170,000 smartphone users, average LTE download speeds at AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile ranged between 8 Mbps and 17 Mbps--a far cry from 1 Gbps.

    Apple could theoretically include the Snapdragon X20 or Intel XMM 7560 in a future iPhone, thereby making it a Gigabit LTE-capable smartphone, but it may elect to wait until more networks are up to speed.

    iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are equipped with Qualcomm's Snapdragon X12 or Intel's XMM 7360 depending on the model. The X12 has a theoretical peak download speed of up to 600 Mbps, while the XMM 7360 reaches up to 450 Mbps. Qualcomm models were unsurprisingly found to be faster in subsequent testing.

    Article Link: Qualcomm's and Intel's Latest LTE Modems for Smartphones Exceed Gigabit Speeds
     
  2. farewelwilliams macrumors 68000

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  3. soupcan macrumors 6502a

    soupcan

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    Theoretical speed, yes. I've yet to see wireless N/AC hit their theoretical speeds in the real world.
     
  4. Wowereit macrumors 6502a

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    So what? Anything beyond 20 Mbit/s/user is pretty much useless on a mobile device.
     
  5. MacRumuer macrumors newbie

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    How did Qualcomm beat intel to 10nm?
     
  6. topgunn macrumors 65816

    topgunn

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    Cool, at that speed I can hit my 22GB soft cap on my "unlimited" plan in less than 3 minutes before I am throttled down to 4G speeds.
     
  7. nutmac macrumors 68040

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    Why is that?

    I occasionally get around 100 Mbps and it's hugely different from 20-40 Mbps that I typically get.
     
  8. MH01 Suspended

    MH01

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  9. ls1dreams macrumors 6502

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    This is absolutely worthless with data caps. A small 5 gigabyte plan could be consumed in 22 seconds.
     
  10. dominiongamma macrumors 65816

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    Sounds like people are trying to justify the speeds they are getting is good enough, I get 70-80 Mbps and it's much faster.
     
  11. Ballis macrumors 6502a

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    Tethered to a Mac, I can se the benefit but how often do you download large files on your phone? I kinda agree with the other guy. This feature is pretty useless for most people, I would think.
     
  12. raghu8912 macrumors 6502

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    Theoretical speeds are useless, actual speed is no where close, i wish service providers invest in the infrastructure.
     
  13. KazKam macrumors 6502

    KazKam

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    #13
    It's been said before, but I'll say it again...

    Speed is no longer most people's issue with mobile data, it's coverage.
     
  14. WestonHarvey1 macrumors 68020

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    The extra speed doesn't suddenly make you download more data than you ordinarily do.
     
  15. 69Mustang macrumors 604

    69Mustang

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    I literally lol'd. I foresee all kinds of hell when the throttling affects pr0n. <-- the joke in that sentence writes itself.:oops:
     
  16. keysofanxiety macrumors G3

    keysofanxiety

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    People said the same about Gigabit wireless speeds on laptops. The point is that today's "good enough" doesn't offer anything for tomorrow.
     
  17. brendu macrumors 68020

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    No. You can't. No cellular network on earth could give you the speeds this modem is capable of receiving.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 21, 2017 ---
    Current networks could not even come close to these speeds. You'll see more appripriate plans when this tech is ready for mainstream in maybe ten years.
     
  18. bladerunner2000 macrumors 68020

    bladerunner2000

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    Great, now I can use up my 2gb bandwidth that costs $30 in just 16 seconds! Thanks Canadian telecom!
     
  19. 69Mustang macrumors 604

    69Mustang

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    Yup. As we move more towards 4K and above content, it's better to be ready for it than get ready for it.
     
  20. Keirasplace macrumors 601

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    #20
    These kind of massive speeds can't really exist in a device the size of a smartphone; they'd need 4 antennas! So, a tablet, a hotspot or laptop could maybe do it.

    The biggest use of speed in a smartphone is to increases the efficiency of the transmission (race to sleep). This clearly saves battery. Increasing speed also increases the speed that a transmission can be set up, torn down and makes fall over from tower to tower even more seamless.

    It's likely the Websites or Internet resources (even when aggregated) you're contacting is NOT giving you your info at max speed and never will. So, it's some small train of packets when they are transmitted to you that are actually getting this speed. So, again it all comes down really to lower battery usage and maybe a bit smaller latency.

    For the towers, the less time you are sending to and from it, the more time it has to send to somebody else that's connected; so, this increases capacity.

    The few usage that would need a continuous throughput like that would be 8K video streaming and i'm pretty sure that's not really useful in your phone.
     
  21. avanpelt macrumors 68030

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    #21
    The hardware in the phones is way more advanced than the hardware on the towers that these phones are connecting to. It's been that way for years. I think my iPhone 7 is capable of upwards of 300 Mbps over LTE. That speed will almost certainly never be seen on this phone with a U.S. carrier.
     
  22. RockstarSR macrumors member

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    #22
    Most LTE Modem's on the current gen phones (including iPhones) already support 300 Mbps+ speeds. Who here actually gets even 10% of it; At-least 30 mbps in urban centers? I dont even consistently get 5 Mbps in SF downtown on my At&t LTE. I did see 100 Mbps in rural areas though.

    Not being cynical but just saying the real world speeds are probably 5% of theoretical (in crowded cities).
     
  23. macduke macrumors G3

    macduke

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    I'd rather have a slower, more power efficient LTE chip since it's going to take forever for our carriers to upgrade to this ludicrous speed. My home internet is still only 200Mbps for crying out loud. Unless you plan on keeping your phone for 4-5 years, it's unlikely you'll see much benefit from this in many parts of the world—especially the U.S. It seems like Qualcomm's modem uses a 10nm process vs. 14nm for Intel, so I wonder if it's more power efficient?
     
  24. Wowereit macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    Sure, absolutely right, but:
    Today's "good enough" = 20 Mbit/s
    iPhone 7 = 450 Mbit/s

    Before your iPhone's modem becomes a bottleneck it has been recycled 3 times and is getting filled with Coca Cola.
     
  25. Carlanga macrumors 604

    Carlanga

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    #25
    people complain about everything these days...

    I'm all for better hardware, that usually means better consumption even w lower speeds.
     

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