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The Qualcomm RF360 Chip: Unifying All LTE Modes and RF Bands

Not being able to connect to the internet may prove to be a nightmare for most people, especially if you’re in another country or continent. With the advent of fourth-generation mobile ultra-broadband connections like LTE, consumers are expecting to be connected wherever they may be, right? Wrong! Not all mobile devices are created equal, and connecting using an LTE enabled device outside your country may just leave you disappointed. Well, thanks to Qualcomm’s forward-thinking team, they developed a solution to achieve trueLTE global mobility with the RF360 Front End Solution. Now, what it is and why is it creating a major buzz in the Consumer Electronic Shows (CES) and Mobile World Congress (MWC), let’s find out.

Multi-RF and cellular band support

Since there are 40 cellular radio bands worldwide, band fragmentation or the use of different radio bands, has always been a challenge for smartphone manufacturers. To create a true LTE-compatible phone, manufacturers have to install various radio front-end (RF) components on their phones. However, this increases production cost. Qualcomm saw this opportunity and integrated all these components in the design. Now, a smartphone with an RF360 chip is now compatible with most worldwide bands.

In the United States, Verizon Wireless is gearing up for 4G LTE international roaming. "There will absolutely be roaming for 4G LTE devices," Verizon’s chief technology officer Tony Melone said. "And where 4G LTE isn't available or it's not economical to support those LTE frequencies, we'll allow customers to fall back on 3G HSPA networks." You’ll get more information about their 4G LTE on

Small, sleek, and powerful

Qualcomm designed a small silicon chip that will house all the necessary components to support all RF (radio frequency) and LTE bands. These components match the tuner that helps the chip support all seven cellular modes: LTE-FDD, LTE-TDD, WCDMA, EV-DO,CDMA 1x, TD-SCDMA and GSM/EDGE. Also, the RF360 is backward-compatible with earlier RF technologies, making it a small, yet powerful chip.

Consumes less to save more power

The RF360’s design reduces the RF or radio front-end’ power consumption by up to 30%, which reduces a smartphone’s heat dissipation. This allows manufacturers to reduce their device’s development cost and improve its battery life. Also, since the new chip is smaller, it reduces the space it occupies on a device’s motherboard to up to 50%. Now, consumers can enjoy thinner and lighter handsets with longer battery lives.

Drastically improves the end-user’s experience

Designing a true LTE device isn’t limited to its components, but the end-user’s experience should also be factored in. So, what’s in store for the sootain-to-be LTE-enabled smartphone user? LTE roaming is now possible even if the subscriber is outside their home market. Qualcomm made sure that the RF360’s antenna can maintain its signal strength despite of physical impediments (e.g user’s hand). This will result in better, continuous talk time, and reliable network coverage all the time. Since the chip can easily switch from 2G/3G/4G LTE bands, it allows for higher data rates to support any application the consumer uses.

With the announcement of the new RF360 chip, manufacturers, network providers, and consumers are hoping that this will resolve true global LTE issues. But since this is still an untested technology, can Qualcomm really deliver and end the so-called “band fragmentation nightmare”?
About the Author
Lily Sommers has an insatiable passion for gadgets, business branding, mobile handsets and follows companies like Apple and Panasonic. Aside from blogging she is a fan of classical music  and you can always find her on Google+

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