Intel readies a family of 5G modems and talks up a storm on 28 GHz


— 4:30 PM on November 16, 2017

5G networking promises to connect everyone and everything, and Intel doesn't want to be left out of the potentially huge wave of handsets and smart devices that will take advantage of the next generation of wireless connectivity. Today, the company announced the XMM 8000 series of 5G modems, of which the XMM 8060 is the first member.

The nascent 5G New Radio, or 5G NR, standards are labyrinthe and cover multiple phases of next-generation wireless deployment. While we're still coming to grips with the full details of 5G, it's clear that the XMM 8060 will support both the intermediate 5G NR Non-Standalone networking (a deployment phase that will piggyback on some LTE technologies and networks), as well as the full-fat 5G NR Standalone networks that Intel (and Qualcomm) expect will begin rolling out in 2020. The XMM 8060 will also be backwards-compatible with 2G, 3G, and 4G networks. Intel expects that the XMM 8060 will begin shipping as part of 5G-ready devices in mid-2019.

While the XMM 8060 is in the oven, Intel is still researching and learning about 5G networking with a prototype device it calls the Intel 5G Modem. The company says this early silicon is now making "full end-to-end" calls over the 28 GHz band, a frequency that Qualcomm calls mmWave. Intel's achievement comes on the heels of similar news from Qualcomm earlier this year.

As 5G condenses, Intel is continuing to develop new modems for the LTE networks of today. The company capped off its cellular announcements with news of the XMM 7660 modem, a Category-19-capable device that Intel says will support speeds of up to 1.6 gigabits per second. That support means the XMM 7660 is ready to handle future tiers of Gigabit LTE, and Intel bolsters that capability with multiple-input and multiple-output support, carrier aggregation, and a "broad range" of band compatibility. The company says the XMM 7660 will begin shipping in devices in 2019.

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