Not to be outdone by Qualcomm’s SoC group, Qualcomm’s communication groups are busy at MWC 2015 as well. Though Qualcomm Technologies and Qualcomm Atheros are not announcing any major new products at this moment, the two of them are on the show floor to demonstrate the status of their various LTE initiatives that we should see in upcoming and future products, in conjunction with infrastructure partner Ericsson.

First and foremost, Qualcomm and Ericsson will be offering the first public demonstration of LTE category 11 hardware in action. LTE category 11 increases the download rate of LTE to 600Mbps through a combination of tri-band (3x20MHz) carrier aggregation and the use of QAM256 encoding, with the latter being the major addition of category 11. Due to the use of QAM256 and the higher SNR required to use it – not to mention 60MHz of spectrum – category 11 is being targeted at small scale deployments where cleaner signals and more spectrum is readily available, such as indoor deployments and carefully constructed outdoor environments.

LTE Categories
Category Max Download Max Upload
Category 6 300Mbps 50Mbps
Category 7 300Mbps 100Mbps
Category 9 450Mbps 50Mbps
Category 10 450Mbps 100Mbps
Category 11 600Mbps 100Mbps

Qualcomm is not currently announcing the modem being used in this demonstration. However we are likely looking at the successor to Qualcomm’s current X12 LTE modem (9x45), which tops out at category 10.

Meanwhile Qualcomm will also be demonstrating the ability to use category LTE with dual SIMs. Qualcomm’s forthcoming hardware will support dual standby with dual receive.

Finally, Qualcomm will also be demonstrating their current progress on implementing LTE/Wi-Fi call handoff and LTE/Wi-Fi link aggregation. With call handoff – or as Qualcomm likes to call it, Call Continuity – VoLTE calls can be seamlessly transferred between LTE and Wi-Fi, allowing phones to tap into Wi-Fi for call handling when possible, avoiding the greater network expense of using LTE. Meanwhile the first public demonstration of LTE/Wi-Fi link aggregation builds off of handoff to utilize both networks at once to take advantage of Wi-Fi speeds while allowing operators to better control a call via the normal LTE channel. Link aggregation essentially brings Wi-Fi access points under control of the LTE network itself – essentially limiting it to operator owned/controlled access points – and is being created as a solution to reliability concerns over using disparate, independent Wi-Fi networks.

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  • rpg1966 - Monday, March 02, 2015 - link

    Love it. It's incredible that QAM256 can even be a thing; the timing and signal strength tolerances etc required are mind-boggling. Reply
  • azazel1024 - Monday, March 02, 2015 - link

    It is, but QAM1024 is supposedly going to be "a thing" in wifi soon too. I suspect the times you'll be able to take advantage of it are going to be TINY. QAM256 already is pretty easy to "upset" and bump you further down the encoding scheme in 2.4 and 5GHz.

    Still, with LTE, I assume you'll pretty much need line-of-site to the antenna and probably also need to be fairly close (a mile or so?)
    Reply
  • maxgo - Tuesday, March 03, 2015 - link

    much closer with small cells Reply
  • Araemo - Monday, March 02, 2015 - link

    "With call handful – or as Qualcomm likes to call it, Call Continuity"

    I think you mean "call handoff".
    Reply
  • Araemo - Monday, March 02, 2015 - link

    It's also nice to finally see VoLTE/WiFi integration. When I was first reading about the architecture of LTE, I saw the potential for carrier-independent (by carrier I mean cellular vs. WiFi) data routing of LTE presence and call data. The actual cellular LTE towers are just another dumb network your phone creates a 'VPN' to the carrier's LTE backbone over.. that 'VPN' could be carried over a number of mediums, including WiFi. Reply
  • djvita - Monday, March 02, 2015 - link

    and arstechnica just tested cat 9 lte in a section stadium in london. this tech is 3 years away for the carriers. this explains their high costs..... Reply
  • name99 - Monday, March 02, 2015 - link

    If Qualcomm and the carriers REALLY want aggressive WiFi handoff, the single most useful thing they could do is to create some sort of STANDARDIZED (ie part of the WiFi spec) mechanism for one-time-only authentication.
    Pretty much every public WiFi network I know of, every time I connect to the damn thing, requires me either to "log in" (eg provide my library card number) or to click "accept" on some long list of rules and restrictions for the network. The net result of this crap is that, unless I have some good reason for doing so, I'm usually just not going to bother to go through that dance. One time is acceptable, but if I have to do it every damn time I want to connect to the network, ain't gonna happen.

    A second, related issue, is that phones need to stop advertising WiFi networks that are patently broken (or so damn slow that they might as well be broken). Don't show me that a network is publicly available until you've actually run some test through it, connected back to MS Central (or Google Central or Apple Central), and determined acceptable performance. I'm not interested in going into a shopping center to see what looks like 20 open networks, 10 of which don't work, 5 of which actually use some sort of alternative password mechanism, and four of the remaining five are so slow as to be useless.
    Reply
  • shadarlo - Tuesday, March 03, 2015 - link

    Agree with everything you said completely. If these would be worked on it would greatly enhance the experience of all mobile users. Reply

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