Just because phones and tablets are now taking advantage of fast LTE networks doesn’t mean we can’t get ready for the next big thing. That’s exactly what Broadcom is doing. On Tuesday, the company announced what it calls the smallest LTE-Advanced modem for future smartphones and tablets. Broadcom’s silicon is expected to boost mobile broadband speeds while saving battery life at the same time.
The chip with the endearing name of BCM21892 is sampling now to hardware partners and expected to be in production by next year. So don’t look for any smartphones or tablets this year that use it. That’s OK because LTE-Advanced networks are still a future event as well. But once they’re here, good ol’ BCM21892 can take advantage of them with downloads up to 150 Mbps with uploads topping out at 50 Mbps.
Technically the radio interface on Broadcom’s new chip still falls in the plain old LTE category. Only when Broadcom boosts speeds to 300 Mbps over 20 MHz of spectrum will it really be LTE-Advanced as defined by the standards bodies. That said, these chips will support carrier aggregation, which is an LTE-Advanced technique.
Broadcom is also positioning the small chip as a solution for all mobile broadband needs with support for all of the 3GPP standards including LTE FDD and TDD, LTE-Advanced with carrier aggregation, HSPA+, TD-SCDMA and EDGE/GSM.
The chip is also optimized for Voice over LTE (VoLTE). Broadcom says that these voice calls use 40 percent less battery than calls over traditional cellular networks. That’s important because tests of prior VoLTE implementations have shown the calls to use more battery than traditional calls.