This special edition Chips and Salsa report marks the fifth time that we have collaborated with Spirent Communications to conduct independent performance benchmark analysis of 3G chipsets. Thanks to our long-standing effort and reputation for doing these tests, not to mention the implications that these reports have on the industry, we were able to test a large number of 3G chipset configurations which we know have had very little exposure in the industry, let alone been subjected to rigorous independent performance benchmark tests. Our report provides this insight. These chipset configurations include Intel’s first HSPA+ chipset, not to mention its first receive diversity solution, as well as 3G chipsets from HiSilicon (Huawei), MediaTek and Samsung.

  • The Devices/Chipsets.We tested a record sixteen different device + chipset configurations, representing chipsets from nine suppliers. The chipset suppliers represented in this report are HiSilicon, Icera, Intel Mobile Communications, Motorola, MediaTek, Qualcomm, Renesas Mobile, Samsung and ST-Ericsson. There were 7 HSPA+ chipsets from 5 chipset suppliers and 9 Cat 8-10 chipsets from 6 chipset suppliers.
  • The Tests.In total we conducted 42 unique Cat 13-14 test scenarios and 26 Cat 8-10 test scenarios. These test scenarios included static channel conditions as well as various forms of multipath fading channels, including PA3, PB3, VA3 and VA120. The test scenarios also included a range of geometry factors to simulate performance close to the center of the cell as well as at the edge of the cell. Each test was repeated 3 times for accuracy.
  • The Results.We present results for all of the tests. The KPIs include throughput, median CQI, and ACK/NACK/STAT DTX percentages. Unlike the last round of chipset testing, no single company dominated the results. This finding, in and of itself, is particularly noteworthy given the companies participating in this round of tests – new entrants as well as the industry giants.
  • The Implications.Although performance isn’t the only criteria by which a company can gain market share, operators and device manufacturers recognize the increasing importance of a top-performing chipset. Historically, these organizations were limited to a couple of credible chipset suppliers, but as we demonstrate in this report, the field has significantly expanded. Increased competition ultimately means cheaper chipsets and/or a redistribution of market share among the participants – some will gain … and some will lose.
  • Other.We go into great detail to explain our test methodology and the results, not to mention discuss why performance matters to operators, device suppliers and consumers. We also demonstrate the importance of receive diversity as well as the use of higher category chipsets, even in more challenging network conditions.