5G is happening now – in the network, the cloud and the client. As mobility evolves beyond the smartphone, 5G is becoming one of the most impactful technology transformations we are likely to see in our lifetimes. It will deliver next-generation experiences including autonomous driving, smart cities, the Internet of Things and, of course, the era of machines.
The reality is that mobility as we know it changes and broadens every day to match the pace of innovation. It’s something I shared in a recent editorial, “The Era of 5G: The Machines Are Coming.” The 5G era is about a fantastic, flexible network that will connect everything to everything, and everybody to everything. It will enable the next great tech transformations, from drone deliveries to self-driving cars. The big difference with 5G is that when you start to talk about “autonomy” and factories, cars and hospitals thinking for themselves, they will rely on split-second connectivity to do so – with no room for error. Period.
This is why Intel is at the forefront of this revolution, accelerating the path to 5G in collaboration with our customers and partners in the industry. This isn’t about the mobility of the past. This is about architecting the future. And Intel’s portfolio brings a unique advantage to the acceleration of 5G.
At last year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC), we revealed our plans for 5G products and trial acceleration, rolling out our first-generation mobile trial platform that immediately offered the industry a development platform for fast prototyping, integration and testing. We also announced a series of partnerships with leading telecom equipment providers and service providers with whom we have collaborated for 5G trials.
Steady progress has followed. Throughout 2016, we entered into several 5G trials around the globe with tier-one service providers. At the start of this year at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), we introduced the Intel® 5G Modem, the world’s first global 5G modem that supports both sub-6GHz and mmWave bands and transforms connectivity for a variety of use cases.
Heading into MWC ’17 next week, Intel will continue our journey of showcasing to audiences how the pieces of the 5G puzzle will come together through amazing experiences enabled by Intel. Today, we’re announcing significant progress on that path along with building upon our existing modem roadmap, including:
Accelerating 5G From Cloud Network to Devices: Intel’s early investments in the cloud and core network technologies have resulted in significant developments in the next generation of connectivity and the next-generation core:
- 3rd Generation Intel® Mobile Trial Platform offers a high-performance development platform for faster integration and testing of 5G devices and wireless access points. Intel is currently working with global operators on 5G development, prototyping and testing with this new trial platform, with further evolution of the platform to come.
- Intel® XMM™ 7560 Modem for next generation of LTE Advanced Devices. This new modem will deliver Gigabit LTE speeds in a single SKU with global coverage. The modem will also be manufactured on Intel’s 14nm process and will support CDMA.
- Comprehensive Mobile Edge Computing Portfolio disclosing end-to-end technology offerings, as discussed in Sandra Rivera’s editorial. This portfolio enables Communications Service Providers to transform their networks in preparation for 5G. Together, these technologies deliver greater security1, performance and intelligence from the data center to the network edge:
- Intel Atom® processor C3000 product family, Intel® Xeon® processor D-1500 product family – network series, the 25 GbE Intel® Ethernet Network Adapter XXV710 and a next-generation Intel® QuickAssist™ technology adapter.
Partnering Across the 5G Eosystem: Intel has a history of building new ecosystems – case in point, the PC and the data center – and we have been busy in 5G too. No one company can move this technology forward alone. We will continue to seek out partners across the industry to define, prototype and deliver early 5G products, solutions and use cases that will shape the market.
- 5G Innovators Initiative 5GI2 – Ericsson* and Intel are launching 5GI2, an open industry initiative designed to explore, test and innovate with 5G network and distributed edge technologies. It will first focus on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) and develop pilots for application of technologies that include augmented and virtual reality for first responder drone surveillance of hazardous environments and other uses. The 5GI2 will join major equipment manufacturers, leading technology companies, industry leaders and top universities to accelerate the adoption of 5G wireless and infrastructure innovation in the U.S. Honeywell*, GE* and the University of California Berkeley are the first participants to join the initiative.
- Nokia* 5G Acceleration Labs – Nokia and Intel are building on their long-standing strategic relationship to enable the development of 5G services by opening two 5G solutions labs to test and accelerate the commercial readiness of new wireless technology. The joint 5G acceleration labs, to be located in Murray Hill, New Jersey, and Espoo, Finland, will build on the companies’ core competencies and technology strengths. Together, they will test and develop next-generation wireless solutions focused on all aspects of 5G, from the network and cloud to the client.
- Intel and AT&T* Collaborate on Connected Devices via Intel® LIQD Program – In my colleague Dipti Vachani’s editorial on February 21, we announced a new category of ready-to-deploy commercial LTE-based devices via the Intel® LTE IOT Quick Deployment (Intel® LIQD) Program; with AT&T as our first major carrier partner. Together, Intel and AT&T will help IoT devices rapidly go to market, become certified and connect online to meet the projected 50 billion devices that will be our world by 2020. The Intel® LIQD program is designed to easily expand to accommodate the rapidly approaching era of 5G systems. By looking ahead to the future of 5G with ecosystem partners like AT&T, Intel will truly enable a truly powerful, agile and flexible program designed to change the way businesses go to market.
- Telefónica* and 5TONIC* Deliver and Install Intel’s FlexRAN Platform – Telefónica and 5TONIC announced they are installing the Intel FlexRAN software reference platform in the 5TONIC open 5G lab. This will allow Telefónica and other 5TONIC customers to test and validate the functionality and performance of virtualized implementations of current and future radio access networks (RANs). The support of a Virtualized RAN is needed for the evolution of 5G and the different connectivity and performance requirements for various applications. Sandra’s editorial also has more details on this update.
5G Interoperability Acheived: The industry recognizes that interoperability is critical for setting standards and guiding the development of technologies that work with other products or systems, present or future. It’s a major implementation hurdle. In the spirit of helping lead the industry and drive the innovation agenda, Intel has collaborated with key industry players to test and deploy interoperability, which is critical to scale 5G trials.
- Intel & Ericsson Achieve First Pre-5G Over-the-Air Wireless Interoperability – A major milestone, the live over-the-air interoperability between the 5G Intel Mobile Trial Platform UE and the Ericsson 5G Radio Prototype system, has passed multiple milestones of interoperability in 2016, including different over-the-air capabilities such as advanced beam forming. This achievement will be demonstrated live over-the-air at MWC via two transformational technology use cases – autonomous driving and virtual reality.
- Intel has also participated in Nokia’s announcement of the first-ever connection made confirming to 5GTF interface with Intel technologies. This proof point helps advance 5G toward a commercial reality and will expand interoperability with Intel 3GPP NR devices. We welcome you to see the demos at MWC.
Indeed, the move to 5G marks a historic inflection point for our industry. A fundamental change and network transformation needs to take place starting now to meet the diverse speed, response times, energy and scale requirements of 5G. The 5G revolution is no technology evolution. It is a total overhaul. It will disrupt industries, launch new categories and give rise to new business models – changing the way we experience the world and how we do business for the better – and I am proud that Intel is at the center of making it happen. On to Barcelona!
Aicha Evans is senior vice president and general manager of the Communication and Devices Group at Intel Corporation.
1 No computer system can be absolutely secure.
*Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.