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Intel Pushes 5G With New Modem

February 7, 2017

Author: Linley Gwennap

Seeing the 5G transition as an opportunity to improve its cellular position, Intel announced plans for a new modem chip, code-named Goldridge, that will support certain features expected to be in the next-generation 3GPP standard. The chip is designed to work in both the millimeter-wave 28GHz band recently approved by the U.S. government and proposed new bands between 3GHz and 4GHz. It is a 5G-only design and must be paired with a second modem chip for backward compatibility with existing 4G networks. The company expects to sample the new modem in 2H17.

The 3GPP has yet to complete the definition of its 5G standard, so any claims of 5G compatibility are premature. Intel is a member of the 5G Technology Forum (5GTF), and its modem is probably compatible with that standard. Goldridge supports channels that span up to 800MHz. Intel declined to specify a maximum data rate, but an 800MHz channel could deliver 5Gbps. Goldridge enables other new features that the company describes as massive MIMO, advanced channel coding, beam forming, and a low-latency frame structure. Initial 5G discussions include QAM-256 coding, 8x8 MIMO or beyond, and a new frame structure.

Intel can pair Goldridge with its new Segula Peak RFIC, which implements 28GHz filters and other RF components. The company is also developing a second RFIC, known as Monumental Summit, that will support new bands from 3.3GHz to 4.2GHz proposed for use in China and Europe.

The new modem is part of Intel’s “end-to-end” strategy for 5G. The company’s x86 processors already dominate the cloud data centers that will provide services for 5G devices. Intel hopes to extend its success to client devices using new modem chips.

Subscribers can view the full article in the Microprocessor Report.

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