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Intel on Tuesday unveiled its XMM 7560 Modem, the latest in a steady march of new releases on the road to 5G.

Capable of delivering gigabit speeds and supporting 5-channel carrier aggregation, the new modem is set to bridge the gap from LTE-Advanced to 5G.

According to Intel’s specs, the XMM 7560 is the first LTE modem to be manufactured using the company’s 14 nm process. The modem itself supports LTE Advanced Pro with downlink speeds surpassing 1 Gbps and uplink speeds of up to 225 Mbps. Link level integration of LTE and WiFi also enabled power improvements and in-device coexistence capabilities, the company said.

The modem also features 5-carrier aggregation for up to 100 MHz of combined downlink bandwidth and three-carrier uplink for up to 60 MHz. The XMM 7560 supports 4x4 MIMO and 256-QAM as well, Intel indicated.

Additionally, the modem’s SMARTi 7 transceiver supports up to 35 LTE bands in a single SKU and Six-mode operation (including LTE-FDD, LTE-TDD, TD-SCDMA, GSM/EDGE, UMTS/WCDMA and CDMA/EVDO), allowing vendors to create devices with global coverage compatibility.

Asha Keddy, VP and General Manager of Intel’s Communications and Devices Group told Wireless Week the modem is important in bridging the gap to 5G with a strengthened LTE profile.

“The way I would look at this is 5G is a new technology, it’s a new generation, so it has fallback to LTE,” Keddy observed. “The reason (the new modem) is pretty significant is in two dimensions from a user perspective. The significance is on the speeds – we can have up to gigabit speeds. Also the previous (modem) was (based on 3GPP) Release 12, whereas Release 13 has added a lot of advanced concepts to the specifications. So in addition to the speeds and the 5CA and the 35 bands, the other thing is the CDMA support.”

The company said the modem is expected to go out to sample in the first half of this year and move into production soon after.

Intel SVP and General Manager of the Communications and Devices Group Aicha Evans said in a blog post the modem is part of an industry-wide overhaul to meet the coming requirements of 5G.

“The move to 5G marks a historic inflection point for our industry,” Evans said. “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.”

And indeed, Intel is hard at work on other 5G tech.

The company on Tuesday also announced a suite of network products for 5G, including a refreshed Intel Atom processor C3000 product family, Xeon processor D-1500, QuickAssist Adapter, and Ethernet Network Adapter XXV710. The former three will be available in the middle of 2017, while the latter Ethernet Adapter will be available later on this quarter.

Intel also said it’s working on the third generation of its mobile trial platform to provide twice the processing power in half the size to allow for up to 10 Gbps throughput. The platform will also include support for advanced 5G features, including band support for 600-900 MHz, 4.4-4.9 GHz, 5.1-5.9 GHz, 28 GHz, and 39 GHz, and 3GPP NR early interoperability. The platform is expected to be operational in the second half of 2017, Keddy said.

Intel is also partnering with Nokia to open two 5G solutions labs in Murray Hill, New Jersey and Espoo, Finland to test and develop next-generation wireless solutions. The company also announced it is pairing up with AT&T to collaborate on connected devices as part of Intel’s LTE IOT Quick Deployment (LIQD) program. The latter will see Intel to help deploy IoT devices more quickly – in a matter of weeks instead of months – with AT&T as its first carrier partner.

More on the 5G solutions lab can be found here, and details on the LIQD program can be accessed here.

Intel, of course, will be showcasing its technology at Mobile World Congress next week, including a demonstration of its pre-5G over-the-air wireless interoperability achievement with Ericsson.

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