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Qualcomm brings Gigabit Class LTE and 5G speeds closer with router and modem launches

By Adrian Diaconescu October 18, 2016, 4:22 am

It’s starting to feel like Gigabit Class LTE technology and 5G mobile networks have been right around the corner since forever. And at least in theory, semiconductor behemoth Qualcomm moves yet another step closer to turning a pipe dream into reality today with the announcements of the Netgear Mobile Router MR1100 and Snapdragon X50 modem.

Developed in collaboration with networking equipment specialist Netgear (duh), as well as leading Australian carrier Telstra and infrastructure giant Ericsson, the MR1000 is the world’s very first “commercial Gigabit Class LTE device”, powered of course by the Snapdragon X16 LTE modem introduced way back in February.

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This will be offered by Telstra to its “leading customers in the next few months”, and wouldn’t make much of a difference it if weren’t for a brand-new “Gigabit-ready network”, enabled by Ericsson. Unfortunately, you still probably shouldn’t hold your breath for actual 1Gbps download speeds in real life.

But even a jump from America’s current average mobile Internet velocity of 19.61 Mbps to Qualcomm’s lowest 112 Mbps estimate for LTE Cat 16 devices on Gigabit Class LTE networks would be quite significant. Not to mention being able to reach 307 or 533 Mbps in the not-so-distant future down under and then gradually around the world.

Meanwhile, the slow transition from 4G to 5G will take another couple of years, as Qualcomm expects the first products to integrate the Snapdragon X50 modem, also unveiled today, to “surface throughout 2018.”

This is billed as a “remarkable milestone in and of itself”, supporting “unprecedented download speeds of up to 5Gbps” by “utilizing very wide bandwidths available in the 28 GHz millimeter wave band combined with advanced signal processing technologies.” In a nutshell, it’s something that’s supposed to lead the next wave of mobile connectivity innovation.

Sources: Qualcomm (1), (2)

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