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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  • DigitalFreak - Monday, November 20, 2017 - link

    From what I've read, their current baseband used in the iPhone sucks at poorer signal levels. Hopefully these new ones won't have that issue.
  • iwod - Wednesday, November 22, 2017 - link

    That is the first Intel Baseband on iPhone. No one has tested the newer one yet. Although I doubt it will be "better" then Qualcomm, but likely improve to a point where it makes little difference in real world.
  • jtcarver - Monday, November 20, 2017 - link

    Qualcomm had had 5g test networks in place for several months now, everything I read in this article that will be in Intel's 5g modem is already in Qualcomms modem, and there is a typo in the article where they mention a 58ghz band (there is no such thing, as that would be in x-ray territory). Since Qualcomm will be shipping their modem in 2018 and test units are already out to phone manufacturers it would seem that Intel is a little behind. If Intel really wanted to get their feet into the SoC and 5g modem business they would have taken more of a role in developing the 5g standards rather than letting Qualcomm be the major player and getting all the standards based patents
  • iwod - Wednesday, November 22, 2017 - link

    Well Intel is partnering with everybody ( apart from Qualcomm ) to develop the 5G. So the battle on Standard based patents is a lot more complicated, including lots of politics.

    There is no defined "5G" yet. So what everyone is talking about right now is mmWave. But before any of mmWave happens, carrier has to implement Massive MIMO and LAA first, as well as many other LTE Advance Pro, 4.9G or 3GPP Rel 14 / 15 before 5G happens.

    As a matter of fact I think Carrier will likely brand their 4.9G Network as 5G, and then let 5G evolves from it. Much like what happen with 4G.
  • WizardMerlin - Thursday, November 23, 2017 - link

    58Ghz is nowhere near X-ray territory, up to 300Ghz is still classed as microwaves. 802.11ad is a 60Ghz wireless standard.
  • Morawka - Monday, November 20, 2017 - link

    All I can say is FINALLY! Qualcomm now has some real competition. Intel is first out of the gate with 5G so they will get their patents filed early. Now Intel needs to work on integrating and licensing out these modems for use in SOC's instead of just offering them as a standalone modem. Integration is important for mobile as precious PCB space is not taken up by the modem.
  • jtcarver - Monday, November 20, 2017 - link

    To little too late, Qualcomm already has test 5g networks in place, has had for several months now and their 5g modem will be incorporated into their next SoC series (not 2 years from now), Qualcomm was the major player in implementing the 5g standards and already patented their standards based 5g technology. Everything that I read in this article is already in Qualcomms 5g modem that will be shipping in 2018. Intel is a newcomer in the mobile communications business and their only customer that really matters is apple, Samsung uses Qualcomm or their own SoC and modems, Huawei uses either their own SoC or Qualcomm, and are designing their own 5g modem so that leaves Intel's market share pretty thin
  • SydneyBlue120d - Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - link

    So are you sain' that direct X20 successor will be a full multimode 5G-4G-3G-2G modem?!?!!?
  • yeeeeman - Saturday, November 25, 2017 - link

    I really don't get why they bother so much improving maximum speed supported by modems each year when the actual network doesn't even support a quarter of the 1Gbps at best.
    The industry today has taken the obsessive route of improving things at a very fast and unnecessary rate, just for the sake of better spec (read higher numbers) on a new device so that people will be motivated to buy it. Stupid really...
  • SydneyBlue120d - Monday, November 27, 2017 - link

    Here you find the answer:

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