Intel has unveiled new commercial modems that are compatible with new 5G Radios and 4G LTE networks. Among the offerings that were revealed by the semiconductor company is the Intel XMM 8000 series of 5G modems. These chips can connect to 5G networks running on both the high-frequency millimeter wave and the sub-6GHz frequencies. Carriers are targeting to utilize both sets of spectrum for their 5G rollout since higher frequencies can deliver increased data speeds to subscribers and lower bands allow for better building penetration and wider coverage. One of the offerings included in the XMM 8000 series is the semiconductor company's first commercial 5G modem, the XMM 8060. It supports both standalone and non-standalone implementations of the 5G standard, in addition to 2G, 3G, and 4G networks. Support for 4G LTE networks is important since Gigabit LTE is expected to be used in rural and suburban areas once companies commence deploying 5G by the year 2020. Intel expects that the devices containing its modem will ship to consumers starting on mid-2019.
The semiconductor company has also announced a new 4G LTE modem, the Intel XMM 7660. This modem can deliver Category 19 downlink LTE capabilities and it is capable of achieving maximum download speeds of 1.6Gbps, Intel claims. In comparison, Huawei's fastest modem can attain top download speeds of 1.2Gbps while the modem incorporated into Qualcomm’s current flagship chipset, the Snapdragon 835 can reach maximum downlink speed of 1Gbps. In order to reach high data transfer rates, Intel utilized cellular technologies like Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) antennas and carrier aggregation. The former technology increases data speeds by sending and receiving multiple data streams at the same time while the latter increases the amount of bandwidth that is available to the device. The tech firm anticipates that the mobile devices which use its product will be on sale by the year 2019.
Aside from Intel, Qualcomm is also actively engaged in the development of 5G modems, and it, in fact, has already announced its first 5G modem for smartphones, the Snapdragon X50. The product, according to Qualcomm, can achieve download speeds of 1Gbps when connected to a network running on the 28GHz band. The firm also revealed a reference device that already takes advantage of the modem, and it is used to test for the modem’s power consumption and performance.