Intel has expanded its 4G LTE hardware line up with new products that offer multimode and multiband support, promising global mobility in a single solution for devices such as tablets and smartphones.
The Intel XMM 7160 LTE module is one of the world's smallest and lowest-power multimode and multiband LTE solutions for phones and tablets, according to the firm. The module is already shipping inside Samsung's Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 Atom-based Android tablet, Intel said.
Intel claimed that the XMM 7160 is the first such device to offer global mobility on LTE in a single solution. With support for 15 of the most common LTE bands, the module will greatly simplify life for vendors selling tablets or smartphones across multiple territories, especially as it also provides seamless connectivity across 2G and 3G networks.
Thomas Lindner, senior director for Multicomm Marketing and Product Planning at Intel, said that LTE has so far presented unique and demanding challenges for device makers.
"There is fragmentation in the market, with over 40 LTE bands in use worldwide, and each country using its own set of bands," he said.
With 15 of these bands in one product, Intel "enables devices to operate on a global basis in all major markets," he added.
The XMM 7160 is also the first generation capable of handling the full data rates supported by today's 4G networks, according to Lindner, enabling downlink speeds up to 150Mbps.
It also has support for Voice over LTE (VoLTE), which means that it can be used to deliver voice calls with better voice quality over LTE networks. Over time, this capability will see 2G and 3G networks phased out and make "legacy cellular technologies obsolete", Lindner said.
Also announced today is the Intel PCIe M.2 LTE module, which delivers the same capabilities but in a standardised form factor that can be fitted to many existing laptops, ultrabooks and tablets, as well as future devices.
Intel said that M.2-based modules will soon be available from vendors such as Huawei and Sierra Wireless, and are expected to appear in shipping systems in the first quarter of 2014.
Lindner disclosed that Intel also plans to deliver a second-generation LTE module in 2014. The XMM 7260 will support higher network speeds and additional capabilities such as support for the TD-LTE standard and the ability to combine bands for higher bandwidth.
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