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1/30/2008
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NXP Modem Includes All GSM Standards From Edge To LTE

The modem uses Software-Defined Radio cellular baseband technology so handsets can be designed to support any GSM standard, frequency, or air interface.

A modem that bridges the gaps among a myriad of GSM standards from the relatively slow EDGE to the 4G LTE has been developed by NXP Semiconductors and will be demonstrated at next week's Mobile World Congress 2008.

Unveiled Wednesday, the modem utilizes Software-Defined Radio cellular baseband technology that enables handsets to be designed to support any GSM standard, frequency, or air interface by the reuse of hardware that changes its parameters in software.

The GSM standards that can be supported on one chip include GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, HSPA, and LTE, with the last named as the fourth-generation goal the previous standards are pointing toward.

"This is the first cellular system solution [to] support the entire GSM family of standards, right through to LTE," said Marc Cetto, executive VP and general manager of NXP's mobile and personal business unit, in a statement. "The solution is fully compliant to the current draft of the 3GPP R8 standard and was defined in close partnership with global operators, OEMs, and infrastructure vendors. Using a software-defined radio approach, we can create silicon and system platforms that evolve as quickly as the industry does."

The SDR technology is aimed not just at handsets but also at laptops, Internet tablets, and ultramobile PCs, Cetto said.

The technology is likely to be utilized first in handsets, whose development time, size, and cost can be significantly decreased through the use of the SDR system, NXP said. Capable of reaching 150-Mbps downlink and 50-Mbps uplink speeds, the SDR system is powered by the company's embedded vector processor, which features a digital signal processing core.

NXP noted that while LTE specifications are being developed, LTE technology can be updated using the company's software programmable platform.

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