Thursday, February 26, 2015

Qualcomm Outlines LTE-U Roadmap for Small Cells & Mobile Devices

Qualcomm outlined its roadmap for extending LTE to unlicensed spectrum (LTE-U). Qualcomm expects LTE-U in the 5 GHz band to offer twice the capacity and range compared to traditional Wi-Fi. The company expects mobile operators to anchor their data services in licensed spectrum bands and use the unlicensed spectrum when available to burst to higher downlink rates.

The first step is integrating LTE-U into a small cell SoC to expand capacity and seamlessly extend LTE networks. Qualcomm will do so with its FSM99xx, a family of small cell SoCs, that will ship in the second half of 2015. These small cell chipsets will integrate 3G/4G as well as Qualcomm's VIVE™ 802.11ac/n Wi-Fi.

For markets with a requirement for "network listen" mode in the 5 GHz bands, Qualcomm is announcing its FTR8950 dedicated RF solution for small cells.  This small cell RF transceiver is a successor to the FTR8900 RFIC and supports features such as digital pre-distortion and dedicated network listen.

For mobile devices, Qualcomm is announcing the WTR3950 dedicated RF solution for LTE-U operation in unlicensed 5 GHz bands. The WTR3950 extends the company's RF product leadership in LTE Advanced, which is based on successful commercialization of single-chip RF transceivers for LTE carrier aggregation. The WTR3950 pairs with the WTR3925, the first 28 nm RF for single chip Cat 6 carrier aggregation, to support up to 3x20 MHz carrier aggregation across licensed and unlicensed spectrum. The WTR3950 can also support up to 40 MHz intra-band contiguous carrier aggregation in the 5 GHz bands. This is expected to sample in the second half of 2015.

Qualcomm also announced that it successfully completed over-the-air testing to prove co-existence between multiple LTE-U and Wi-Fi access points in the unlicensed spectrum under extreme load conditions. Qualcomm Technologies will showcase its new solutions with a number of LTE-U demonstrations at Mobile World Congress, March 2-5 in Barcelona, Spain.

“As the Internet enters a new phase of growth, in which more devices are connected and share richer data, there is a need to cost effectively address the challenges of a 1000x increase in mobile data traffic. To do this, we need a combination of more spectrum, more efficient use of existing spectrum, and more small cells,” said Matt Grob, executive vice president, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., and chief technology officer. “Our job is to help the industry make the best use of all available spectrum, using both LTE and Wi-Fi technologies, to increase capacity.”