Intel revealed a new product roadmap which calls for commercial release of a multimode 5G modem in 2019.
The XMM8060 will be compatible with a range of spectrum from sub-6GHz frequencies to mmWave, and both non-standalone and standalone 5G network configurations alongside legacy technologies including 2G, 3G and 4G.
In a call with media, Intel’s VP and GM of Connected Products Chenwei Yan explained this multimode and backwards compatibility will be key since 5G is expected to roll out in stages starting with non-standalone configurations and limited coverage.
“It’s important for a commercial device from day one to support both network configurations,” Yan said: “The second element to the multimode story is that we support in addition to 5G the various 2G, 3G, and 4G legacy air interface modes – this is significant because for operators, from day one at least, there won’t be ubiquitous 5G coverage, and in places where 5G coverage is not available, the device still has to work.”
Intel said the modem is expected to ship in commercial devices in mid-2019, but declined to specify whether the goal refers to use in smartphones. However, the company did report it successfully completed a full end-to-end 5G call at 28GHz using its early 5G silicon.
The XMM8060 will be the first of Intel’s new family of commercial 5G multimode modems, which the company said will be designed for use in a variety of form factors including PCs, smartphones, fixed customer premise equipment and even connected cars.
In addition to fleshing out its 5G portfolio, Intel unveiled a new XMM7660 Cat-19 LTE modem capable of delivering speeds up to 1.6Gb/s. The product is expected to ship in commercial devices in 2019, the company said.
Intel also hinted it has gigabit Wi-Fi plans up its sleeve, noting it will deliver commercial 802.11ax products starting in 2018.