When Samsung announced the Exynos 9 Series SoC (with the 8895) earlier this year, the company was proud to talk about its new LTE modem. Like with the announcement we’re seeing today with the Cat.18 modem, their Cat.16 LTE modem used in the Exynos 8895 came with support for 5CA (carrier aggregation). This enabled the chip to theoretically hit a maximum download speeds of 1.0Gbps — if the stars aligned and you were connected to the proper LTE towers.
Today, the company has taken this a step further and announced their new Cat.18 LTE modem and it includes improved carrier aggregation as well. Instead of 5CA like we saw earlier this year, this new chip will support 6CA and come with a 20% increase in download speeds. So again, if everything falls into place properly then this new LTE modem from Samsung should be capable of 1.2Gbps which could let you download an entire HD movie in 10 seconds.
For those unaware, Carrier Aggregation in these LTE modems combines a number of component carriers with different bandwidths. This is what results in the increased upload and download speeds as well as an overall improved network performance. So 5CA allowed for 5 different carrier bandwidths while the new 6CA support increases this to 6. This technology also includes support for 4×4 MIMO (Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output) and higher-order 256 QAM (Quadrature amplitude modulation) in an attempt to maximize the data transfer rate too.
This won’t mean much for those in the United States as wireless carriers here are only aggregating three LTE channels at most (although Sprint did promise four carrier aggregation next year). We’re told that this new Cat.18 LTE modem will go into mass production “by the end of this year.” We aren’t given a date, but it’s safe to assume it will not make its way into a new smartphone until next year.