Intel Updates XMM 8000 Series 5G Modem Roadmap, Announces XMM 7660 Cat 19 LTE Modem
On the 4G LTE front, Intel's current top-shelf modem is the XMM 7480, which supports 4x carrier aggregation and download/upload speeds of 600Mbps and 150Mbps respectively (it’s prominently used in AT&T/T-Mobile versions of Apple’s iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X). The successor to the XMM 7480 is the previously announced XMM 7560, which Intel says is already breaching gigabit-class speeds. It is also Intel's first global LTE modem, as it includes both GSM and CDMA support (which must be music to the ears of Apple, which is currently feuding with Qualcomm over LTE modems).
The XMM 7560 is manufactured on Intel's 14nm process and is rated at 1Gbps downloads (Cat 16) and 225Mbps uploads (Cat 13). It supports 5x carrier aggregation for downlink (up to 100 MHz combined bandwidth) and 3x for uplink (up to 60 MHz). There's also support for 4x4 MIMO, 256QAM, and it incorporates Intel's SMARTi 7 transceiver that supports up to 35 LTE bands. The LTE modem will be widely available in 2018.
Moving a step beyond the XMM 7560 is the XMM 7660, which will bump downloads speeds to 1.6Gbps (Cat 19) while also maintaining global CDMA/GSM compatibility. Intel says that the XMM 7660 will be commercially available in 2019.
Moving on to the 5G parts, this is where Intel is devoting a lot of its resources for the future. Intel's 5G modems will be part of the XMM 8000 series of multi-mode modems, with the first available SKU being the XMM 8060. The XMM 8060 supports 2G, 3G and 4G legacy modes using both GSM and CDMA. It also supports both sub-6GHz bands and mm-wave spectrum. Intel expects to ship the XMM 8660 to customers in mid-2019 to support broad 5G wireless network deployments in 2020.
“Intel is committed to delivering leading 5G multi-mode modem technology and making sure the transition to 5G is smooth,” said Dr. Cormac Conroy, Intel corporate vice president and general manager of the Communication and Devices Group. “Our investments in a full portfolio of modem technologies and products are critical to achieving the vision of seamless 5G connectivity.”
As part of its 5G development work, Intel says that it has already completed full end-to-end 5G calls over the 28GHz band using early silicon.