New Broadcom chip paves way for faster mobile data, voice over LTE
You may think smartphone data speeds are pretty fast now, but Broadcom is planting the seeds for even faster networks—along with clearer voice calls—in a year or so.
Broadcom claims that it has come up with the industry's smallest 4G LTE-Advanced modem for smartphones and tablets, dubbed the BCM21892. The modem supports download speeds of up to 150 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 50 Mbps, according to GigaOM.
The moden on a chip provides some other benefits too: It supports Voice over LTE, a technology that allows for clearer voice calls, and touts up to 25 percent power savings compared to what a phone typically consumes for data transmissions.
It's also compatible with existing 4G, 3G, and 2G networks, and can hand off transmissions to these older wireless standards without interruption. “Carrier aggregation” is supported as well, allowing wireless providers to combine frequency bands to achieve higher speeds.
Broadcom isn't planning to produce the chips until 2014, but wireless carriers still have their own work to do in the meantime. U.S. carriers are still rolling out their standard LTE networks, though AT&T has said that it will launch its LTE Advanced network later this year. Verizon and AT&T are both hoping to launch voice over LTE later this year.
Of course, Broadcom will have competition. Qualcomm, for instance, has been touting chipsets that support LTE Advanced for roughly a year now. Broadcom's new chip is just another sign that we're getting closer to having even faster data transmissions and crisper voice calls.