Qualcomm Snapdragon X24 modem: capable of 2Gbps downloads

As they lead the world to 5G, we envision this next big change in cellular technology spurring a new era of intelligent, connected devices and enabling new opportunities in connected cars, remote delivery of health care services, and the IoT - including smart cities, smart homes, and wearables.

Hot on the heels of the 5G momentum that saw Qualcomm announce working with 18 different device OEMs and 18 different network providers to bring 5G hardware and carriers online for wide adoption in 2019, the mobile giant is launching another 4G LTE modem.

Channa Seneviratne, executive director network and infrastructure engineering, Telstra, said: "We were the first network operator in the world to enable 1 Gbps LTE on a commercial mobile network". So there's still reason to build 5G as 4G gets faster. This way it shouldn't matter what IoT backend you use - you'll more than likely have support right out of the gate. In addition, we will also see the first 5G devices.

Today, the company also announced Qualcomm Wireless Edge Services (QWES) and a new cellular IoT SDK, collectively created to lay the groundwork for increased use of IoT devices ahead of 5G's rollout, particularly in industrial settings.

The Snapdragon X24 chip is set to be the world's first Cat 20 modem to make it out into the wild and will boast "fiber-like" internet download speeds of up to 2Gbps. (Gb, or gigabits per second are not to be confused with GB, gigabytes per second.) That's the equivalent of downloading 7GB of Ultra HD video on Netflix in 28 seconds at 2Gb speeds. The X24 has a peak download speed of 2Gbps, but the really good stuff is how Qualcomm gets there. That's much slower, but the figure still doubles today's fastest LTE average of 100-to-300 Mbps, based on varied network conditions.

In this case, filling the gap means one of two things.

The X24 is still a 4G chip, but it features Full Dimension Multi-Input Multi-Output (FD-MIMO) antenna technology that is a key foundation of future 5G NR (New Radio) networks - 5G NR is the global 5G standard. It underscores the continued importance of the current network technology. While the 5G implication might not be immediately obvious, low latency wireless links will let factories dynamically reconfigure their machines so they can move anywhere they're needed at a given moment, rather than being tethered to wires.

Until 5G ramps up, 2-gigabit phones will be there to pick up the slack.

Vanessa Coleman