NVIDIA's i500 SDR LTE Modem Achieves 150Mbps Throughput During CITA 2013 Demo

Subject: Mobile | May 22, 2013 - 07:46 PM |
Tagged: Tegra 4i, software defined radio, SoC, nvidia, i500, 4g lte

NVIDIA's Tegra 4i System on a Chip includes a software defined radio that works as a LTE modem. This i500 LTE modem uses general purpose deep execution processors (DXP) and is as much as 40% smaller than a hardware LTE modem according to the company.

At Mobile World Congress earlier this year, the modem was able to reach 100Mbps throughput. After a recent software update, the Tegra 4i SoC in NVIDIA's Pheonix reference platform achieved 150Mbps throughput in a demo at CITA 2013 in Los Angeles this week.

The reference phone was connected to a test network during the demo rather than a live cellular network. The cellular network test equiptment showed the Pheonix platform was connected at the full 150Mbps link speed. In addition to this, NVIDIA showed the Tegra 4i-powered Pheonix phone connected to a live AT&T LTE network streaming video and making voice calls.

The interesting bit about the i500 modem in the Tegra 4i is its software defined nature. NVIDIA was able to upgrade the modem's capabilites through software rather than needing to redesign the hardware. This would be a big plus to consumers as they would be able to take advantage of the faster network speeds as they become available without needing to replace their phones. NVIDIA did note that in addition to the LTE Cat 4 support, the i500 is also backwards compatible with LTE Cat 3, 3G, and 2G networks. I'm interested to see what the power consumption of thei500 is like compared to LTE modems implemented in specialized hardware. The i500 is smaller and more flexible, but SDR can use more power due to its general purpose hardware units.

Read more about NVIDIA's Tegra 4i SoC at PC Perspective!

Source: NVIDIA

May 22, 2013 | 09:20 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

"The interesting bit about the i500 modem in the Tegra 4i is its software defined nature."

Why would the majority of buyers be interested in that. Its not like consumers look for a phone that will be upgradable in the future just by optimizing throughput on its modem that attached to old technology when the next cycle comes around to upgrade a year later.

Thats like saying I want to keep my iPhone 5 because the modem in it is comparable to the up coming iPhone 6. Nevermind the new tech that comes in the new model the modem upscaling is more then enough to make up for the 1yr old tech.

As long as Telecoms sub the new phones and your able to get the new models and tech at $99-$199. I dont see the appeal in this.

Its dumb marketing selling point for phones.

It only makes sense on Tegra 4 (Wayne) where the modem is a +1 chip option and thats tablets.

May 22, 2013 | 11:55 PM - Posted by Tim Verry

Well, I personally find software defined radio interesting, and as a person that buys unlocked phones and keeps them until they die, being able to upgrade with network technology is a small plus. I never said it would be a marketing point as, yes, many consumers would not know what that is much less care about it. But it is still a good thing to have. ex. the group of people that care about Android phones having unlocked bootloaders. Having an unlocked bootloader is a good thing but not something the majority of people will care about, use in purchasing decisions, or even know about.

Sorry for any confusion caused by my statement/opinion.

I do agree that its not really a spec that will be used in buying decisions. Heck, basic specs like CPU, GPU, and cameras are hardly used by many people in deciding what to buy, it's usually only the brand or what's popular. Those sorts of details are just there for the geeks I guess :).

May 25, 2013 | 01:45 AM - Posted by renz (not verified)

so if this software based modem really able to gain traction will the hardware based modem go the way of sound card?

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