Thursday, February 14, 2013

Broadcom outs smaller, more efficient LTE-Advanced modem for high-spec mobiles

Broadcom out shrunken down LTEAdvanced modem for highspec mobiles

Welcome to the BCM21892. It may sound like every other piece of Broadcom silicon we've covered, but it actually represents an important move from a company that is eager to start pecking at Qualcomm's lunch. First and foremost, this is a 4G modem for flagship phones rather than any budget fare, with support for LTE-Advanced and data speeds of up to 150Mb/s. To deliver that kind of performance, carriers either need 20MHz of contiguous bandwidth -- a rarity these days -- or they need carrier aggregation technology, which allows a modem to exploit separate chunks of bandwidth simultaneously. The BCM21892 boasts that spec too, not to mention compatibility with most of the popular network standards in use around the world, from the TD and FD types of LTE right down to HSPA+, TD-SCDMA and EDGE/GSM. Finally, through a combination of small transistors (28nm) and clever algorithms, the chip is claimed to reduce power consumption by 25 percent compared to rival devices, and also to take up less space -- potentially leaving more room for other goodies (Broadcom suggests NFC). The chip is still only at the the sampling stage, however, so the folks at Qualcomm shouldn't have too much to worry about until at least 2014.

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