Qualcomm Chip Set Could Triple Wireless Bandwidth

Users of mobile electronics could triple their wireless bandwidth next year with new chip sets from Qualcomm.

Qualcomm plans to launch chip sets based on a technology called EvDO (Evolution-Data Optimized) Revision B, which is capable of boosting bandwidth on existing CDMA (code division multiple access) networks. The technology will first reach markets in data modems in late 2007, according to a Friday news release from the San Diego-based company.

When it reaches other wireless devices soon afterward, EvDO Revision B will make possible such third-generation capabilities as converging multiple consumer electronics features into a single device. Users will then be able to watch mobile television or listen to streaming music while making a phone call, or conduct a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) call while browsing Web sites.

The chip sets will be smaller and offer better battery life than current technology, said Sanjay Jha, president of Qualcomm CDMA Technologies.

Who Uses What Now

Wireless electronic devices on today's market use either the original EvDO standard or WCDMA (Wideband CDMA).

Current EvDO users include Alltel, Sprint Nextel, and Verizon Communications, said Avi Greengart, an industry analyst with Current Analysis. Sprint has already announced plans to migrate to EvDO Revision A, to support its push-to-talk function.

That sounds promising for Qualcomm's new chip set, but no carrier has yet announced public support for EvDO Revision B, raising the question of how hardware infrastructure will support it, Greengart said.

Qualcomm plans to launch EvDO Revision B as part of its DMMX (DO Multicarrier Multilink Extensions) and HMMX (HSDPA Multicarrier Multilink Extensions) platforms. Both involve the use of multiple, simultaneous, wireless transmission protocols in multiple frequency bands.

EvDO Revision B allows data to flow over more than one channel at the same time, thus increasing peak data rates--up to 14.7 megabits per second on the downlink. And it uses existing wireless standards, thereby protecting CDMA2000 operators' current investments in both networks and devices, according to the Qualcomm Web site.

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