Intel And MediaTek Add 5G Connectivity To More Laptops With A Simple M.2 Stick

intel 5g solution
Earlier this morning, we brought you news about two new additions to Intel's Tiger Lake-U family: the flagship Core i7-1195G7 and the Core i5-1155G7. But that isn't the only big news happening in the laptop world from Intel. The company also announced the latest developments in its partnership with MediaTek and Fibocom to deliver 5G modems for laptops.

It is called the Intel 5G Solution 5000 and is available in a standardized M.2 form-factor for easy deployment. However, PC OEMs must still provide the necessary antennas to enable cellular reception with the 5G modem.

MediaTek did a lot of the heavy lifting with this new connectivity option, as the Intel 5G Solution 5000 is largely based on its existing T700 modem. We should mention that while the modem supports sub-6GHz 5G networks, there are no provisions for faster mmWave networks. At this time, the lack of support for mmWave isn't too much of a hindrance since most U.S.-based wireless carriers have treated mmWave expansion as a secondary focus compared to slower (but more widely available) sub-6GHz networks.

The module is built by Fibocom (carrying the designation FM350-GL) and operates over a PCIe 3.0 interface. According to Intel, it will have broad carrier support in the United States for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon wireless networks. On 5G networks, the modem can hit downlink/uplink speeds of 4.7Gbps/1.25Gbs, while 4G LTE networks will see maximum data rates of 1.6Gbps/150Mbps.

"5G is poised to unleash a new level of computing and connectivity that will transform the way we interact with the world," said Gregory Bryant, Executive VP and GM of the Intel Client Computing Group. "This partnership with MediaTek brings together industry leaders with deep engineering, system integration and connectivity expertise to deliver 5G experiences on the next generation of the world's best PCs."

The Intel 5G Solution 5000 has six design wins for 2021 across three confirmed OEMs (only Dell and Hewlett-Packard have been announced so far). In 2022, Intel claims it will have around 30 design wins to put it in a "leadership position" for 5G connectivity in notebooks.