Intel has unveiled new commercial modems that carry support for 5G Radios and 4G LTE networks. The latest Intel XMM 8000 series of 5G modems can connect to 5G networks on high-frequency millimeter wave as well as sub-6GHz frequencies.
Carriers are aiming to use both sets of spectrum for 5G network as higher frequencies increase the data speeds, while lower bands are needed for better building penetration and wider coverage. Included in the XMM 8000 series, the XMM 8060 is Intel's first 5G modem for commercial use. It offers support for both standalone and non-standalone implementations of the 5G standard. Needless to say, it will also support 2G, 3G, and 4G networks.
Even after companies start introducing 5G networks in the coming months, for rural networks where infrastructure is not well developed, 4G LTE network will be necessary. Intel is hopeful that devices containing the 5G modem will be available to end-consumers by mid-2019.
In addition, Intel has also introduced a new 4G LTE modem. Dubbed as Intel XMM 7660, it comes with Category 19 downlink LTE capabilities is capable of delivering download speeds of up to 1.6Gbps. Just to give you some perspective, Huawei's Kirin 970 chipset can achieve a maximum download speed of 1.2Gbps and Qualcomm's Snapdragon flagship Snapdragon 835 SoC can attain top download speeds of 1Gps.
Intel has used cellular technologies like Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) antennas and carrier aggregation to make sure its modem delivers high data transfer rates. MIMO boosts data speeds by sending and receiving multiple data streams simultaneously. Carrier aggregation technology, on the other hand, expands the bandwidth available to the device.
Not only Intel, another chipset maker Qualcomm is also working on 5G modems. A few weeks back, it announced the Snapdragon X50, the company's first 5G modem for smartphones. With two of the biggest companies coming up with 5G modems, it won't be long before 5G becomes the new norm.