Intel is announcing a slew of new products and partnerships ahead of Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2017, where it will be demonstrating how pieces of the 5G puzzle are coming together.
Among the new products: the Intel XMM 7560 Modem for next-generation LTE Advanced devices, delivering gigabit speeds in a single SKU with global coverage; a mobile edge computing portfolio; and a third-generation mobile trial platform for faster integration and testing of 5G devices and access points.
Intel also announced a new suite of products specifically designed to prepare networks for 5G, including new versions of the Intel Atom processor C3000 product family and Intel Xeon processor D-1500 product family, a 25 GbE Intel Ethernet adapter and new versions of the Intel QuickAssist technology adapter.
“The move to 5G marks an historic inflection point for our industry, ” said Aicha Evans, senior vice president and general manager of the Communication and Devices Group at Intel, in a blog post. “A fundamental change and network transformation needs to take place starting now to meet the diverse speed, response times, energy and scale requirements of 5G. The 5G revolution is no technology evolution. It is a total overhaul.”
Acknowledging that no one company can change the world, Intel is hooking up with several wireless industry partners, including Ericsson as part of the 5G Innovators Initiative 5GI, an open industry initiative designed to test 5G network and distributed edge technologies. The 5GI’s first focus will be on the industrial Internet of Things (IoT) and developing pilots for application of technologies that include augmented and virtual reality for first responder drone surveillance of hazardous environments and other uses. Honewell, GE and the University of California, Berkeley, also are part of the initiative.
Intel is also collaborating with Nokia, opening two 5G solutions labs to test and accelerate the commercial readiness of new wireless technology. Whereas the partnership with Ericsson is based in Silicon Valley, the deal with Nokia is centered in Murray Hill, New Jersey, and Espoo, Finland, said Asha Keddy, vice president in the Communications and Devices Group and general manager of Next Generation and Standards at Intel.
“We’re really focusing on trials,” Keddy told FierceWirelessTech, including one in Austin, Texas, with AT&T, which is also the first major carrier partner in Intel’s LTE IOT Quick Deployment (LIQD) program. Together, Intel and AT&T want to help IoT devices rapidly go to market, become certified and connect online.
In Europe, Intel is working with Telefonica and 5Tonic, a Madrid-based open research lab focusing on 5G that was founded by Telefonica and Imdea Network. They’re installing the Intel FlexRAN software reference platform in the 5Tonic 5G lab, so Telefonica and 5Tonic can test and validate the functionality and performance of virtualized implementations of current and future radio access networks (RANs).
Keddy also said that the 7560 modem, which is expected to sample in the first half of this year, supports 5x carrier aggregation, 4x4 MIMO and 256 QAM. Intel’s SMARTi 7 transceiver also supports up to 35 LTE bands, so customers can build mobile devices with global coverage leveraging a single SKU; together, the SMARTi 7 transceiver and Intel XMM 7560 platform are capable of supporting up to 230 carrier aggregation combinations.
Of course, Intel has been intimately involved in SDN and NFV for operators, and it’s working with equipment vendors to increase computing, bandwidth and storage capacity at the edge--including 5G base stations with integrated server capabilities, virtualized customer premise equipment (vCPE), software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) and network appliances.
“We’re also looking to increase data and network security to protect edge devices against ever-increasing risks from cyberattacks,” said Sandra Rivera, vice president and general manager, Network Platforms Group at Intel, in a blog post.