Intel last week announced that its first commercial 5G modem, the XMM 8060, is now under development and will ship in a couple of years. As part of the announcement, the company reiterated its plans to offer a top-to-bottom XMM 8000 family of 5G modems for various applications, including smartphones, PCs, buildings and vehicles. In addition, the company announced its XMM 7660 Cat-19 LTE modem that supports download speeds of up to 1.6 Gbps, which will be available in 2019.

At present, Intel’s 5G Mobile Trial Platform is used to test 5G technologies in different locations around the world. For example, one of such devices installed aboard the Tallink Silja Europa cruise ship is used to enable Internet connectivity to passengers while in port in Tallinn, Estonia, (where another 5G MTP is installed) and the nearby area. Meanwhile, Intel’s 5G Modem for client applications is evolving as well. Intel said that devices powered by the silicon can now make calls over the 28 GHz band. The 5G MTP will be used for its purposes for a while and will even gain new capabilities over time, but the company is working on a family of commercial modems that will be used for mass applications sometimes in 2019 and onwards. The Intel XMM 8000-series multi-mode modems will operate in both sub-6 GHz and millimeter wave global spectrum bands, combining support for existing and next-gen radios. Intel does detail the whole lineup two years before the launch but indicates that it will be able to address smartphones, PCs, vehicles, and fixed wireless consumer premise equipment (CPE).

One of the first members of the Intel XMM 8000 family will be the XMM 8060 modem. This unit will support full 5G non-standalone and standalone NR, as well as 2G, 3G/CDMA, and 4G modes, thus enabling devices to work in different locations, including large cities with 5G standalone NR (this may be a distant future) as well as rural areas that have 2G or 3G networks. Intel expects commercial devices based on the XMM 8060 to ship in mid-2019, a little bit ahead of 5G networks deployment in 2020.

Since 5G is not going to become widespread for a number of years to come, there will be demand for Gigabit speeds over LTE from various parties in 2018 - 2020. Intel announced its first-gen Cat 16 Gigabit LTE modem — the XMM 7560 — earlier this year and at present the chip is being tested by smartphone makers. A good news is that it now can officially achieve Gigabit-class speeds (presumably in an actual device), so expect commercial products on its base sometimes next year. In the meantime, Intel is prepping the XMM 7660, its second-generation Gigabit LTE modem capable of up to Cat 19 (1.6 Gbps) downlink connections. Intel hasn't disclosed much in the way of details on this one, but expect a natural set of features here — advanced MIMO, carrier aggregation, 256QAM, loads of bands support, etc. Intel expects commercial devices to adopt the XMM 7660 in 2019. By that time, leading carriers will implement many of the features necessary for both 5G and Gigabit LTE, so the modem will be able to achieve its speeds in many locations.

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Source: Intel

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  • ads295 - Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - link

    I've used a very popular LTE carrier in a very very high density place (a suburban train station that's one of the busiest in the world). And I can't even load a webpage there. But this case is actually more extreme than you'd see in more developed countries, right? I've moved back to a town (relatively speaking) and now speeds are all right
  • yannigr2 - Monday, November 20, 2017 - link

    You are right, but. Better see companies create a network of 5G tomorrow, than expand a network of 3G or 4Gtoday . Because today is just a numbers game. In 10-15 years, consumers will probably be happy seeing at least a 5G in their connection status.
  • Jon Tseng - Monday, November 20, 2017 - link

    1) Hello Apple (let's face it, who else uses a discrete baseband nowadays, at least in a smartphone?).

    2) Does the 7660 support CDMA? Can't see any mention of this in the release (although it says the 8060 supports it). Was under the impression Intel were bringing in CDMA to displace Qualcomm but maybe it isn't ready yet?
  • Trixanity - Monday, November 20, 2017 - link

    The current flagship modem 7560 supports CDMA so I don't see why its successor won't.
  • iwod - Wednesday, November 22, 2017 - link

    7560 Support CDMA, but given latest report show Apple will still be using Qualcomm for CDMA in their next generation of iPhone, this means CDMA support on Intel's first CDMA likely isn't good enough yet.

    So 7660 may be the Baseband that will completely displace Qualcomm in iPhone 2019. Given how Intel put out this announcement rather early I expect the design is pretty impressive.
  • melgross - Monday, November 20, 2017 - link

    It’s nice to read about all of this while people around the world are stuck at about 20Mb/s,now, with a very few able to get to 50. Unless you’re in a testing area, and right near the tower, much higher than that is a bust.

    Nevertheless, Qualcomm is in trouble.
  • PeachNCream - Monday, November 20, 2017 - link

    20Mb/s?! My wired internets at home are only 10 (thanks bunches DSL)...I wish I could get anything close to 20 on any connection and it's not like I live in the middle of nowhere either. *pouts*
  • iwod - Monday, November 20, 2017 - link

    Lots of Questions unanswered.

    Intel only has one customer for its Baseband and that is Apple. So we know for sure the XMM75 series will be in next iPhone, and presumably the XMM76 Series in 2019 iPhone.

    Last time we knew the XMM75 will be Intel's first in house fabbed Baseband, and based on 14nm. So are we going to assume XMM76 being on 10nm?

    Another Interesting point is this is the first time Intel has a pre announced Baseband that is better and faster then everyone else has on the Roadmap, that is including Qualcomm and Huawei. Although we are hitting diminishing of returns in terms of real benefits.
  • witeken - Monday, November 20, 2017 - link

    XMM 7660 is 10nm, according to Ashraf Eassa.
  • iwod - Wednesday, November 22, 2017 - link

    I wouldn't bet on his word, he has been wrong about Intel a lot more then KGI on Apple. ( And sometimes his word dont make any sense )

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