Find Out Which LTE Modem Your iPhone 7 Has – Why is it Important?

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Oct 20, 2016
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If you’re looking to purchase an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus, then that particular purchase will have to be done in a very careful manner, not because you’ll have to decide which color or storage model to purchase, but which carrier in particular. Keep in mind the Apple is running both Qualcomm’s and Intel’s LTE modems inside its mobile devices, and apart from possessing different speeds, we’re going to tell which LTE modem is present inside your iPhone 7.

Qualcomm’s LTE Modem in iPhone 7 Takes a Convincing Lead Against Intel’s LTE Modem

Cellular Insights have conducted one of the most comprehensive cellular connectivity tests for an iPhone 7’s different LTE modems and Qualcomm’s chip came out on top. Not only is the LTE modem compatible with a wide range of cellular standards, but it completely blows Intel’s LTE modem out of the water. The experts used an R&S TS7124 RF Shielded Box, two R&S CMW500, one R&S CMWC controller, and four Vivaldi antennas and managed to create a setup to simulate LTE performance at different distances from a cellular tower using two iPhone 7 Plus devices. One phablet featured a Qualcomm LTE modem, while the other one feature an Intel modem.

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The entire objective of the test was to measure the highest achievable LTE throughput starting at a Reference Signal Received Quality of -85dBm and gradually reducing the power level to simulate moving away from a cellular tower where the signal is weaker. Out of several LTE bands, three were tested: Band 12, Band 4, and Band 7.

In all three tests, both the iPhone 7 Plus models offered similar performance in ideal conditions, but as power levels decreased, Cellular Insights stated that it saw unexplainable sharp dips in performance in the Intel modem, which Qualcomm taking the lead by 30 percent easily. In the charts, the Qualcomm modem maintains noticeably higher throughput speeds than the Intel modem as signal strength continued to decrease. This would automatically suggest that Qualcomm’s LTE chips would fare better in real world wireless connectivity, which is why we are moving onto the next segment; which iPhone 7 model features which LTE modem.

How to Find Out Which iPhone 7 Model Features Which LTE Modem?

Qualcomm modems support both the GSM and CDMA standard, which is why the iPhone 7 from both Verizon and Sprint will also be compatible with other carriers. So in a nutshell, if you purchase an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus from Verizon or Sprint, you’ll know immediately that you have purchased one that features a Qualcomm modem.

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On the other hand, Intel’s LTE modems do not support CDMA for now, so if you purchase an iPhone from AT&T or Sprint, you’ll know immediately which model you’ve purchased. To make matters even more simple, if you head down to Apple’s website right away to check out the specifications of iPhone 7, head down to the ‘Cellular and Wireless’ category. Over there, you’ll be able to view the model numbers and the cellular band compatibility.

Models Powered by Intel’s LTE modem (GSM/WCDMA/LTE support)

  • A1778
  • A1784

Models Powered by Qualcomm’s LTE modem (GSM/CDMA/WCDMA/TD-SCDMA/LTE support)

  • A1660
  • A1661

So why exactly is this important? Qualcomm was the chief supplier of Apple’s LTE and Wi-Fi connectivity chips, and with Intel entering the fold, it will be all about the compatibility circle. Since Qualcomm’s LTE modems provide support for both the GSM and CDMA standard, there is no question that you should opt for any iPhone 7 model from Verizon or Sprint. Now that you have a better idea as to which model you should purchase, which one are going to opt for? Tell us your decisions in the comments right now.

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