Intel accelerates the development of its 5G modem chip

Intel XMM 8160 modem

Intel has brought forward the development of its 5G modem chip so it's ready for use in some of the earliest 5G devices, such as Apple's debut 5G smartphones, due to launch in 2020 according to various rumours.

The first handsets with 5G capabilities are expected to start rolling out in 2019 or 2020 and Intel wants to make sure it's in a position to support the rollout of the tech. Previously its chips weren't expected to ship until mid-way through the year, meaning it would miss out on a huge opportunity.

Intel XMM 8160 is a multimode modem, meaning it supports 2G, 3G, 4G and of course 5G, so even if the manufacturer doesn't want to launch 5G straight away in its devices (for example, if they're rolled out to networks that don't have the 5G infrastructure set up for launch), they will work perfectly with legacy networks too.

Another benefit of using Intel's much-hyped Intel XMM 8160 chip is that it's faster, supporting download speeds up to 6Gbps and smaller than other chips. Additionally, it will use the millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum, alongside sub 6GHz 5G NR support, offering more bandwidth to accommodate the growing number of mobile an connected device users.

"Intel's new XMM 8160 5G modem provides the ideal solution to support large volumes for scaling across multiple device categories to coincide with broad 5G deployments," Dr. Cormac Conroy, Intel corporate vice president and general manager of the Communication and Devices Group said.

"We are seeing great demand for the advanced feature set of the XMM 8160, such that we made a strategic decision to pull in the launch of this modem by half a year to deliver a leading 5G solution."

Intel will launch its 5G modem chips in the second half of 2019 to make sure any tech firms planning a 5G device launch are able to use its processors.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.