Intel Doubles Down On 5G, Connected Cars With New Global Modem At CES 2017

Intel is deepening its strategy around 5G, the next major phase of mobile telecommunications standards beyond the current 4G.

Intel Wednesday at the Consumer Electronics Show unveiled a global modem that the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company said would enable autonomous driving, developing smart cities and more.

"We're announcing the first global 5G modem designed to support different spectrums across the world," Rob Topol, general manager of Intel's 5G business and technology, told CRN. "5G needs higher computing intelligence and a more distributed network. We're building network solutions in the cloud down to the devices, so we have a unique point of view for customers."

The global modem, code-named Goldridge, features ultra-high-throughput wideband operation and low latency, and supports sub-6GHz bands and mm-wave bands.

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Intel hopes its modem will bring fiber-like data rate performance to mobile devices, fixed wireless broadband terminals, drones and automotive products, according to Topol.

But most importantly, he said, the modem's global standpoint enables it to support various spectrums and operators across the world.

"There's a lot of competition with 5G," he said. "We've positioned Goldridge with the message around being global, so it supports spectrums in all countries with all operators."

Goldridge is compatible with the new 5G RFIC transceiver.

The first chip and module samples will be available in the second half of 2017, according to Intel.

In addition to Goldridge, Intel at CES unveiled the Go Automotive 5G Platform, the industry's first 5G-ready test platform for the automotive industry.

This platform will enable automakers to develop and test a wide range of use cases and applications around 5G.

Intel, for its part, is taking an "outside-in" approach to 5G development, committing to field trials and testing with ecosystem partners.

The company has said it expects to release prototypes in development for 5G verticals in 2017.

Most recently, Intel in 2016 unveiled new modems and SoCs designed for 5G commercial applications such as XMM 7480, the next-generation modem for smartphone, tablet and PC LTE connectivity, and Intel Atom x3-M7272, which is optimized for mobile high-streaming devices, or Internet of Things devices such as wearables requiring high bandwidth.

Intel has unveiled 5G collaborations with several companies in the past, including Ericsson and SK Telecom.

"We look at 5G as an end-to-end play," said Topol. "It doesn't only involve the cloud, but network transformation, as well as mobile and connected home."