IT'S COMING SOON, IT'S COMING SOON, 5G'S COMING SOON; that's likely being chanted at Intel as the chipmaker ramps up its plans to bring 5G modems to market.
Likely narked at how Qualcomm already has 5G Snapdragon modems out in the wild, Intel has put the pedal to the silicon to get its modem chip game up to speed, with the launch of its XMM 8160 brought forward by some six months.
Touted to deliver speeds of up to 6Gbps, meaning it'll smoke current LTE modems, the wireless chip is set to arrive in the second half of 2019, around the time 5G is expected to start rolling out, finally.
"Intel's new XMM 8160 5G modem provides the ideal [hardware] to support large volumes for scaling across multiple device categories to coincide with broad 5G deployments," swooned Dr Cormac Conroy, Intel's corporate vice president and general manager of the firm's Communication and Devices Group.
|We are seeing great demand for the advanced feature set of the XMM 8160, such that we made a strategic decision to pull in the launch of this modem by half a year to deliver a leading 5G [product]."
Running that through our de-waffle machine; devices with Intel SoCs will likely have the 5G modem stuffed into them too, meaning access to the new standard of wireless connectivity could be built into future laptops and tablets, and maybe even phones if Intel can find a way back into that market.
It might not have too tough a time doing so, though, as rumour has it that Apple, which is tipped to release its first 5G smartphone in 2020, has already roped in Intel as its 5G modem supplier. The firm is reportedly using Intel's 8060 chip for testing, but hopes that the 10nm 8161 will provide faster speeds and greater efficiency for the finished product.
For modem chip nerds, Intel's new XMM 8160 5G modem will make use of the new millimetre wave (mmWave) spectrum as well as the sub-6GHz 5G New Radio frequency bands.
It will also have backwards compatibility with 4G networks to ensure that the modem still works in areas not covered by 5G, which we suspect will be quite a few in number as the rollout of 5G isn't likely to deliver blanket coverage in the UK that quickly.
But we guess this is at least another solid step down the road of 5G actually arriving sooner than later. µ
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