Review Index:

Gigabit LTE - The Path to 5G with Qualcomm, Ericsson, Netgear and Telstra

Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Qualcomm



In conjunction with Ericsson, Netgear, and Telstra, Qualcomm officially unveiled the first Gigabit LTE ready network. Sydney, Australia is the first city to have this new cellular spec deployed through Telstra. Gigabit LTE, dubbed 4GX by Telstra, offers up to 1Gbps download speeds and 150 Mbps upload speeds with a supported device. Gigabit LTE implementation took partnership between all four companies to become a reality with Ericsson providing the backend hardware and software infrastructure and upgrades, Qualcomm designing its next-gen Snapdragon 835 SoC and Snapdragon X16 modem for Gigabit LTE support, Netgear developing the Nighthawk M1 Mobile router which leverages the Snapdragon 835, and Telstra bringing it all together on its Australian-based cellular network. Qualcomm, Ericsson, and Telstra all see the 4GX implementation as a solid step forward in the path to 5G with 4GX acting as the foundation layer for next-gen 5G networks and providing a fallback, much the same as 3G acted as a fallback for the current 4G LTE cellular networks.

Gigabit LTE Explained

View Full Size

Courtesy of Telstra

What exactly is meant by Gigabit LTE (or 4GX as Telstra has dubbed the new cellular technology)? Gigabit LTE increases both the download and upload speeds of current generation 4G LTE to 1Gbps download and 150 Mbps upload speeds by leveraging several technologies for optimizing the signal transmission between the consumer device and the cellular network itself. Qualcomm designed the Snapdragon X16 modem to operate on dual 60MHz signals with 4x4 MIMO support or dual 80MHz signals without 4x4 MIMO. Further, they increased the modem's QAM support to 256 (8-bit) instead of the current 64 QAM support (6-bit), enabling 33% more data per stream - an increase of 75 Mbps to 100 Mbps per stream. The X16 modem leverages a total of 10 communication streams for delivery of up to 1 Gbps performance and also offers access to previously inaccessible frequency bands using LAA (License Assisted Access) to leverage increased power and speed needs for Gigabit LTE support.

Continue reading our coverage of the Gigabit LTE technology!

View Full Size

Courtesy of Telstra

View Full Size

Courtesy of Ericsson

The next question you may be asking is why do we need Gigabit LTE when most of us have access to similar speeds via our cable providers? Both Ericsson and Telstra predict and unprecedented growth curve in cellular use over the next five years, further driving the need to 5G and a high-speed fallback which they believe will take the form of Gigabit LTE. By 2022, both companies expect streaming video content to gobble up 75-80% of total cellular traffic with a estimated 11GB of data used per smartphone and a 10X increase in cellular traffic. These predictions are based on current measured trends with on-demand streaming increasing by over 1.5x since 2011 and viewing over cellphones increasing dramatically. Combined with a reduction of at home TV veiwing, the path to the 2022 usage become easier to envision.

Netgear Nighthawk M1

View Full Size

Courtesy of Netgear

Built on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC and X16 modem, the Netgear Nighthawk M1 Mobile Router was developed to use on Telstra's 4GX Gigabit LTE network, but is unlocked so it can be used on any network with Gigabit LTE support. The modem offers integrated GigE port support, as well as dual-band 4x4 MIMO 802.11AC Wi-Fi support, and media streaming support with a microSD card or external USB drive attached. The device allows connection with up to 20 devices as well. The M1 comes standard with a 5040 mA battery, offering up to 24 hrs of sustained use. Further, it is built with support for Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 technology allowing fast charging of the device's internal battery.

View Full Size

Courtesy of Netgear

View Full Size

Courtesy of Netgear

The Nighthawk M1 includes an integrated display showing real-time usage statistics including battery remaining, bandwidth use, device connection count, total bandwidth use per month, and how many days left in use month. The following ports are integrated into the M1 modem: USB 2.0 port, USB 3.1 Type-C port, GigE RJ-45 port, and dual TS-9 antennae ports. The USB 3.1 ports can be used to connect external storage for media streaming purposes. The Ethernet port can be used to connect the device to a hardwired network or directly to another device such as a stream-capable 360 degree 4K camera. The dual TS-9 ports can be used to connect external 4G or 3G antennas to the device for better cellular reception purposes.

Video News

February 1, 2017 | 11:54 AM - Posted by DiaperDanDoodied

Those specs look exciting. Perhaps this will lower latency in accessing non-local virtual images and allow for cloud based gpu processing?~!

February 1, 2017 | 12:26 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

So 5G means there can maybe be someone like Google/others that can roll out a 5G service for laptops/mobile devices and homes that can compete with any wired form of internet service provider. I'd really love to be able to have an internet that I can use without having any box, cable or wireless router and a 5G radio built into my laptop would be nice. 5G just may be the answer to a lot of rural high speed internet roll out without the cost of physical infrastructure getting in the way.

Now if there can be a least one service provider for each service area that is NOT also in the content creation/cable TV business then I am very interested in 5G ability on my laptop(this Router IP built into my laptop configured for single device usage). I wish that all internet service provider business would be separated from the content creation/content provider business and let there be real competition among the content creators/content providers for my business.

February 1, 2017 | 12:30 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Edit: 5G
to: 4GX/5G

Do this for each occurence of "5G" in the above post!

February 1, 2017 | 04:00 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

5G is the future spec, not the same as 4GX.  5G was only mentioned b/c Qualcomm, Ericsson, and Telstra were stressing very hard that they were positioning 4GX to be the fall-back layer once 5G comes out.  5G is still in very early alpha stages, not expected to be release until 2020-2022 range at a minimum (again, according to the company reps)...

February 1, 2017 | 06:52 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Yes, your headline said 5G but I meant 4GX not 5G currently hence the edit that you replied to changing all references from 5G to to 4GX/5G. Maybe I should have said 4GX now and 5G later when it becomes available.

But that 4GX is definitely a good start towards transitioning to a better method of internet service for all without all the expense of running wiring to every house/apartment. I’d even be up for the government funding some of the construction(Rural Areas) of the tower part of the infrastructure and charging any providers a small fee over a longer amount of time to attach to the towers in rural areas to help things along for those that currently have no high speed internet options.

The towers would be available to all Internet(Only) providers and the fees collected could help defray the costs of tower building and upkeep in much the same way that the interstate highways are funded. There could also be some help in getting the towers attached to the internet backbone/trunk lines in rural communities to get that 4GX service provided as quickly as possible with a fair and equal chance for all internet service providers(NOT Cable/Content providers) big and small.

Really we need the Internet service provider segment legally separated from the Cable(TV)/Content providers with the Internet Only providers being the ones deemed necessary for the access that all households need. Let the internet service providers be the infrastructure and the content/TV(Cable) providers forced to compete with each other for the consumers’ business over that infrastructure with rates that are fair to all.

I have one question about the router, can I attach a Raspberry Pi/other similar device to the Ethernet part of the router and will I be able to use the Pi(With Keyboard and USB monitor) in a mobile setting. I’d like to see some secure Linux OS based Pi/Other systems tested with this SKU. I’m really not interested if this is only for IOT usage.

Qualcomm needs a little attention from the antitrust part of the US Justice Department though! Qualcomm does not appear to understand the FRAND requirements of having ones IP taken as part of any standard that all are required to use in wireless/other communication markets. As much as I do not like Apple, I have to agree that Qualcomm only deserves from Apple FRAND levels of payments and Qualcomm has no rights to a percentage cut of Apple's total unrelated value added sales action! Maybe even the US Justice Department can make some of the RICO laws apply to what Qualcomm is doing in demanding an unfair cut of any device maker's unrelated to Qualcomm’s IP licensing FRAND only fees on any licensee’s unrelated sales percentage for any Qualcomm FRAND related IP.

February 1, 2017 | 11:32 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

Theorectically, you should be able to attach a Rapberry Pi to the ethernet port of the netgear device.  During the conference, they had a 360 camera attached to one for conference streaming purposes...

February 1, 2017 | 12:31 PM - Posted by Shambles (not verified)

Seeing as I still don't get proper HSPA speeds I look forward to this being implemented by my provider in 40 years.

February 1, 2017 | 02:24 PM - Posted by willmore

So, another generation of cellular standards locked to Qualcomm?

February 1, 2017 | 04:02 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

could be, but it sounded like they wanted this be become an industry standard as a stepping stone to 5G in the next five years so that 5G fall-back would be to the faster 4GX rather than to 4G or 3G even.  We'll see...

February 1, 2017 | 05:16 PM - Posted by FallenBytes (not verified)

Yay, now I can eat up my entire 12GB data plan in 96 seconds instead of the normal 40 minutes. Progress.

November 28, 2017 | 02:51 AM - Posted by Eric Lee (not verified)

Already bought the unlocked Netgear Nighthawk M1 from

But now it seems the ATT version Nighthawk M1 is more powerful than Telstra version. Feel bad, the price is high, shall i buy another one?

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote><p><br>
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.