Nimish SawantJan 04, 2017 20:25:34 IST
Intel has announced its plans to enter the 5G space with the Intel 5G Modem, codenamed Goldridge. Alongside the 5G Modem, the chipmaker also announced the Intel GO automotive 5G platform. The Intel 5G modem will be another building block in its ambitious move to have an end to end 5G solution ready in time for the commercial 5G rollout in 2020.
The Intel 5G Modem is expected to sample in the second half of 2017 and move into production soon afterwards. But the technology is expected to go commercial only by 2020. Intel has however begun work with some of its partners such as BMW, Nokia, Vodafone, GE and others in deploying 5G technology across the different building blocks. Intel 5G modem has begun with spectrum trials and deployments across different markets in the world.
The Intel 5G baseband chip supports 28GHz mmWave as well as sub-6GHz bands. With the two bands Intel is looking at offering ultra-wideband operations while enabling multi-gigabit throughput with ultra-low latency for multiple use case scenarios. The 5G modem pairs both the sub-6GHz 5G radio frequency integrated circuit (RFIC) as well as the 28GHz 5G RFIC to ensure all global markets are covered. The Intel 5G RFIC is expected to sample in the first half of 2017.
The 5G modem aims to achieve speeds of 5Gbps and over. It will also be paired with LTE modems such as Intel XMM 7360 to provide 4G fallback in areas where 5G may not be working.
Considering 5G proliferation will cover various areas of application, Intel is going in with a use-case driven approach. The three areas it has identified include:
- Enhanced mobile broadband which includes using Wireless Broadband at home with last mile fiber connectivity, Virtual reality / Augmented reality / Merged reality applications and gaming, mobile offices, 4K/8K streaming and so on.
- Massive machine-to-machine connectivity includes using narrow band IoT networking where the data transmitted isn't large, but area covered is huge. This will work in Smart City implementation of smart meters, smart traffic management as well as with Smart Agriculture where data will be provided on key aspects such as crop yield, weather and so on.
- The third area involves ultra reliable and extremely low latency networks (less than 1ms) which involve areas such as healthcare, drones used during disaster recovery efforts and autonomous vehicles where high latency could mean a matter of life and death.
Intel GO Autonomous platform
Alongside its 5G modem, Intel also announced its ambitions to get into the autonomous car segment with the Intel GO Automotive 5G platform, which is an industry-first 5G-ready test platform for the auto industry. This platform has been built to allow car makers to develop and test a wide range of use cases and applications for autonomous vehicles ahead of the expected 5G rollout in 2020.
The Intel GO platform will also help Intel combine autonomous driving with its other 5G building blocks in the compute, wireless technology, network connectivity and data centre space.
Intel has partnered with automotive supplier Denso, with who it will share a new stereo vision solution for automakers using Intel Cyclone V SoC which will assist cars to make emergency braking decisions based on data coming in from the multiple camera sensors onboard the car. In the future, with 5G in place, the feeds coming in from the multiple cameras should not face a bottleneck, thereby letting the autonomous vehicle make a decision to brake within milliseconds. Intel is also working on an autonomous car project with BMW and MobileEye and is looking at a 2021 launch.
According to the Intel representative, Asha Keddy, vice president, communications and devices group, 4G chips will also be used alongside 5G chips in some use cases. For instance, when the user is not present in a fixed location, while using a smartphone for instance, there will initially be a separate 4G and 5G chip. This is to ensure that in areas where there is no 5G connectivity, there is seamless fall back to 4G .
"Depending on the vertical or use case, 4G fall back may or may not be required. For instance, gaming or broadband to home will not require fallback as they are more localised use cases. Once the area is covered with mmWave, you can have extremely high bandwidth. As time goes on and more parts of the globe are covered with 5G networks, there will be less need for fallback to 4G," said Keddy.
5G rollout in India
Intel said it is working with a lot of universities and industries to deploy 5G in some applications, but was not specific about it. According to Intel, 5G rollout in India depends a lot on the spectrum availability and how keen the leading operators are. Intel believes that India can accelerate the use of 5G in a lot of verticals, and sooner than other parts of the world. IoT will be a major driver for 5G in India. IoT automation in cities for solving some endemic issues such as traffic management, power shortages, agricultural data distribution and so on are areas where 5G deployment could give a lot of information, studying which decisions can be taken accordingly.
According to Intel, the bandwidth of 800MHz can handle several Gigabits of data, which in effect translates to more capacity. Other way to reduce network congestion is by having efficient algorithms which will manage sub-channelisation depending on the different technologies under work. Another area which could reduce network congestion is intelligent network distribution. For instance, using cloud only when required and at other times relying on device to device data transfer.
Commercial 5G rollout is still some years away. But investments in the space have already started. Now, with the two chip-making giants Intel and Qualcomm releasing their 5G modems, it is now time for their deployment and trials.