Even though, according to a Forbes article, Qualcomm has THE big percentage of Baseband Cellular chipset market … Intel has interesting stuff out for LTE Advanced.
“Last year’s XMM 7160 was Intel’s first LTE 4G CAT 4 modem, with 15 bands it covers most of Europe and North America at 150 Mb/s. This year, Intel introduces the XMM 7260 CAT 6 LTE-Advanced modem, supporting 22 bands at 300 Mb/s, all under one global SKU.”
First there was the 4G LTE: XMM 7160 And M.2 Module in 2013 … and now the XMM 7260: Global 4G LTE-Advanced in 2014 …
“On paper, XMM 7260 sounds extremely appealing, as far as OEMs and IHVs go. It’s supposedly the first truly global LTE-Advanced SKU, and that means Intel has a real chance to get a leg up on its competition, and could very well achieve its goal of becoming the world’s second biggest LTE provider.
As with XMM 7160, 7260 also consists of two components: the X-Gold 726 Baseband processor and the SMARTi 45 Front End. This time, however, it’s a much more power-efficient and cost-effective two-chip solution. In terms of LTE-Advanced, it supports up to CAT 6 at 300 Mb/s and Carrier Aggregation up to 40 MHz. Due to the simplified two-chip design, Carrier Aggregation is achieved entirely within one chip. This saves power as less chips need to be engaged at the same time while aggregated LTE segments switch in and out.
The number of bands has more than doubled over the XMM 7160, to over 30. This makes the XMM 7260 a truly global LTE-Advanced solution, having support for every band used in every country that uses LTE. Moreover, up to 22 of these bands can be used simultaneously, meaning that switching between bands should be seamless, which is a key factor for globetrotters. There’s no more need for one device per region/provider.
As an LTE-Advanced chipset, XMM 7260 supports LTE FDD/TDD, which is expected for full and proper Carrier Aggregation up to 40 MHz. What’s really interesting is that TD-SCDMA support is also included, so China is now fully supported for 4G LTE as well. This seems key if Intel wants to take that number-two position. Market research shows that China looks set to grow by almost 130% in terms of LTE take-up due to China Mobile’s TD-LTE rollout late last year, and Intel is well aware of this. Right now, TD-SCDMA take up is already over 60% in China, so Intel is smart to offer TD-SCDMA support, something that some Chinese chipset-makers haven’t even fully implemented yet.
Finally, due to the maturity of the chipset and its simpler two-chip design, Intel states that it significantly reduces power consumption by a further 20%. Whether this is in comparison to XMM 7160 or earlier chipsets is unclear.”
… China China China … Marsha Marsha Marsha …
“Leveraging The LTE Market
Intel has made its intentions clear: the company wants that number two LTE chipset manufacturer spot, and it’s playing hardball to get there. The delivery of TD-SCDMA support for China in XMM-7260, along with the entirely global focus makes that clear. But what’s the end game? Surely, it’s to position x86 as a ubiquitous a mobile solution, as it clearly intends XMM 7260 to be. China is a big part of that picture, and it’ll be surprising if Intel doesn’t leverage its capacity for volume discounts.”
The X-Gold 716 Baseband Processor
|Baseband Processor||X-GOLD™ 726|
|Baseband Functions||LTE FDD; LTE Advanced Cat. 6 300Mbps, 2CA up to 40MHz, VoLTE, DC-HSPA+ 42Mbps, HSUPA 5.7Mbps, EDGE|
The SMARTi 45 Front End (Transceiver?)
The both go together to make it happen.
|RF Transceiver||SMARTi™ 4.5|
|RF Transceiver Functions||13 receiver input ports, single chip inter-band/intra-band LTE, downlink Carrier Aggregation|
CAT 6 LTE, Carrier Aggregation / LTE Advanced, and Voice over LTE (VoLTE)
And frequency band coverage in one chip, up from 15 bands in the 7160 t0 30 bands in the 7260 for your Global – World Mode that we dream of once again. Now if someone could just put this in a router – with the RJ11 jack for voice … and we’d have everything all set.
“Samsung Electronics is using Intel’s Category 6 LTE modem with carrier aggregation, known as the XMM 7260, in Samsung’s recently announced Galaxy Alpha and Galaxy Note 4 phones. “The strategic importance of these capabilities continues to grow. Our LTE technology, which we originally developed for phone, is becoming increasingly valuable in tablets and even PCs as wireless wide area network connectivity becomes increasingly common,” he said, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript of his remarks. “We estimate for example that by 2018 the rate of baseband attached to tablets will roughly double and that PCs will rise to more than 15%.””
But … umm …
“Not all Galaxy Alpha models are created equal
It’s also worth mentioning — and this is the real shocker — that the Intel modem used in the international variant of the Galaxy Alpha actually supports higher LTE-Advanced speeds than the modem block found inside of the Snapdragon 801, which powers the North American version of the phone. The MDM9x25 inside of the Snapdragon 801 supports up to category 4 LTE-Advanced, which means download and upload speeds are 150 megabits per second and 50 megabits per second, respectively.
The XMM 7260 inside of the international version of the Galaxy Alpha, on the other hand, supports 300 megabits per second download and 50 megabits per second upload speeds — similar to Qualcomm’s higher end MDM9x35 stand-alone modem found inside of the Galaxy S5 Broadband LTE-A.”
Why not in the North American model? Hmmm.
“Is Intel finally catching up with Qualcomm?
While Qualcomm is still firmly in the lead when it comes to wireless chips, Intel has made significant progress. This time last year, Intel was barely shipping its first multimode LTE modem — the XMM 7160 — and even then, this solution was missing quite a few features relative to similar Qualcomm offerings.
The XMM 7260, on the other hand, comes much closer. Qualcomm’s own category 6 LTE-Advanced modem, known as the MDM9x35, is still more sophisticated than the Intel part — it’s built on newer manufacturing technology, for example — but the gap between the capabilities and time-to-market of Intel’s best modem and Qualcomm’s best modem has shrunken dramatically.
It will be interesting to see how the competitive dynamic shifts as Intel moves its next generation modems internally on its leading-edge manufacturing technology.”
Alan Spicer Marine Telecom
954 683 3426
communications @ marinetelecom.net