News Feature | February 23, 2018

The Week In 5G: 2/23/2018 – Intel Eyes 5G Laptops, AT&T Announces First Three Cities Getting Mobile 5G

By Jof Enriquez, Follow me on Twitter @jofenriq


Intel will be presenting demos or concepts of 5G-enabled devices at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, between Feb. 26 and March 1, 2018. At the same event, Intel and Huawei will demonstrate the world's first 5G New Radio (5G NR) over-the-air interoperability trial.

TechCrunch reports that Intel will showcase unspecified 5G-enabled two-in-one devices" co-developed with partners Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Microsoft, ahead of a plan to bring 5G products to market by the end of 2019. These devices will reportedly be powered by Intel's 5G modem, the XMM 8060. The Verge was more specific, saying that the four companies will collaborate with Intel in creating laptops or "PCs with built-in 5G connections" that’ll be available by the 2019 holiday season.

With 5G, Intel is pursuing an end-to-end strategy that covers everything from the cloud level and the network to the device level. That's why, besides developing 5G products, the company also is set to run the world's first 5G New Radio (5G NR) over-the-air interoperability public demonstration with Huawei at MWC. The trial will use the using the new 3GPP 5G NR standards approved in December.

"We expect to see not only significant traffic up through core networks and cloud, but we do expect a high amount of machine-to-machine communication and communication that happens just on the edge of the network. And that's why at Intel we've been actively pursuing trials, prototyping, product development in all of these segments," said Intel GM of 5G Advanced Technologies Rob Topol, reported ZDNet.

Among the more than 25 5G trials it's currently involved in around the world, the one receiving the most attention is its showcase of the technology at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Among several achievements there, Intel's 5G network streamed high-definition live video to spectators, as well as an immersive virtual reality application that carried huge amounts of data. Due to the success of the showcase, Intel has signed up to be a technology partner for the next two summer and two winter games, according to IT Pro Portal.

Intel worked with KT Corp. (Korea Telecom) for the showcase at the Winter Games.

Rival SK Telecom will sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Nokia and Cisco to expand 5G-Passive Optical Network (5G-PON) technology globally, reported RCR Wireless. At MWC, it will showcase a number of 5G technologies, including real-time streaming technology of 5G NSA (non-standalone) standard defined by 3GPP, and a 5G-LTE interworking technology that transmits between two frequency bands — LTE frequency band of 2.6 GHz and 5G frequency band of 3.5 GHz·28 GHz.

KT, SK Telecom, and LG U+ all plan to start commercial operations of 5G in early 2019, and build nationwide infrastructure by 2020. The overall investment in 5G by South Korean mobile carriers reportedly could reach more than $9.36 billion.

In network news, AT&T announced that its mobile 5G network will roll out initially in Atlanta, Georgia, Dallas, and Waco, Texas. The three cities are the first among 12 markets the carrier earlier promised to experience 5G. AT&T's network will be based on millimeter-wave spectrum and is compatible with the newly-approved 5G NR standard.

“After significantly contributing to the first phase of 5G standards, conducting multi-city trials, and literally transforming our network for the future, we’re planning to be the first carrier to deliver standards-based mobile 5G – and do it much sooner than most people thought possible,” said Igal Elbaz, senior VP, Wireless Network Architecture and Design for AT&T, reported BGR. “Our mobile 5G firsts will put our customers in the middle of it all.”

5G NR-compliant networks need to handle increased demand for seamless connectivity, which 4G LTE networks today fail to deliver. To that end, they need to fulfill requirements that include 5G data processing, storage and networking needs in the datacenter and edge compute, carrier network transformation projects, and 5G modems and IP. Meeting these requirements will boost IT hardware spending to as much as $326 billion by 2025, according to a report from Moor Insights & Strategy, via Forbes.