Intel has been aggressive with its 5G plans. After having announced the Intel 5G Modem, codenamed Goldridge, and the Intel GO automotive 5G platform, the US chipmaker has now announced its plans to begin support for new radio (NR) specifications in its live testing and trials with partners. This will begin from Q4 2017.
Intel had announced its second generation Mobile Trial Platform at MWC 2017, and it has partnered with network infrastructure vendors such as Ericsson and Nokia. Intel has also added others such as Verizon and AT&T to this list. The MTP comprises reprogrammable FPGAs (Field Programmable Gate Arrays) and Intel Core processors which allow quick implementation of the latest air interfaces and communication protocols. The use of FPGAs on the trial platform means that the platform can be reprogrammed according to the different use cases for 5G.
“If you look at 3GPP, all countries came together and decided on cellular and 3GPP. New Radio (NR) specification is important as it is the first milestone which will help us determine the radio characteristics of 5G. We want to have one mobile platform device that can be used in multiple use-cases,” said Asha Keddy, VP of client and IoT business and systems architecture at Intel. She said that Intel is working with infrastructure partners such as Nokia and Ericsson to ensure that the needs of these infrastructure partners are met.
5G NR is the wireless radio standard that is the foundation of 5G. According to Intel, ” New Radio (NR) development is part of continuous mobile broadband evolution process to meet the requirements of 5G as outlined by IMT-2020, similar to the earlier evolution of 3G & 4G wireless networks. 5G NR aims to make wireless broadband same as of wireline with the fiber-like performance at a significantly lower cost-per-bit. With new levels of latency, reliability, and security, 5G NR will scale to efficiently connect the massive Internet of Things (IoT), and will offer new types of mission-critical services.”
In this third gen MTP, you get 5G advanced feature support, which includes 3GPP NR early interoperability support. The MTP also supports a range of frequency spectrums so as to cover all the major countries’ standards. The bands include 600-900 MHz, 3.3-4.2 GHz, 4.4-4.9 GHz, 5.1-5.9 GHz, 28 GHz, 39 GHz.
The testing is expected to help industry bodies to try out the MTP in real world use cases. “Operators can use MTP in real-world testing, which will give them insights into how to prepare for commercial testing. We want to ensure that the standards give a variety of use cases beyond phones. Intel sees 5G from an end-to-end perspective. For instance, we work with car manufacturers so that the antenna is integrated with the automotives. We can test parameters such as speed tests and collect multiple data points which then helps the telematics provider to figure out what they want,” said Keddy.
Some of the use cases Keddy spoke about included fixed wireless which would involve placing the MTP in cities, small offices and factories, residential areas, schools and so on. Intel will also be collaborating with infrastructure partners such as GE and Honeywell.
In China, Intel has a lot of government trials going on at the moment, but there was no clarity on the India trials, although Intel says that it is in talks with Indian telecom operators. In Korea, Intel is working with automotive partners whereas in the US, there is a lot of focus on fixed wireless and mmWave.