Last week Qualcomm showed SemiAccurate a 3-carrier LTE aggregation demo using 40MHz of total bandwidth. If you want 300Mbps over the air it won’t be long now because the demo starred a Snapdragon 810.
The idea is simple enough, take three disparate carrier bands totalling up to 40MHz (20+10+10Mhz) and treat them as a single pipe. This aggregate bandwidth is what allows the peak data rate of 300Mbps, it is essentially four 10Mbps 75Mbps channels worth of bandwidth (Note: Over three actual channels) treated as one pipe. You can see the demo hardware, basically a QCA8994 aka Snapdragon 810 development device, below.
The device in all it’s… err… glory
To show it worked, Qualcomm was streaming a 4K video stream over the bonded channels along with a readout of the frequency usages below that. In short it works and it is all based on the Snapdragon 810 which should be available soon enough. Carriers with 40MHz of available LTE spectrum on the other hand will not be nearly as common when the 810 launches but that is not Qualcomm’s problem.
The picture across 40MHz of simulated airwaves
Giving one device the ability to use all that spectrum at once is a mixed blessing that no one seems to want to talk about. On the up side you can download data at very high speeds and possibly save power by sleeping the rest of the system quicker. On the down side it means a single user is capable of hogging spectrum that could support four 10MHz users at 75Mbps. Where the tradeoff lies is an open question but since the cell carriers are both not stupid and deploying 3-carrier aggregation, it looks to be a real net win. All we can say at the moment is that it works and when the Snapdragon 810 is released, you too can buy one.S|A