There’s a famous quote that says, “Scientists dream about great things. Engineers do them.” As we accelerate towards a 5G world, where not just everyone, but every “thing” is enabled with seamless connectivity and massive computing power via the cloud — as an engineer and Chief Wireless Technologist and Intel Fellow, I am excited to be working with partners to make that great future a reality.
Intel’s small, powerful, and portable Mobile 5G Trial Platform allows for the rapid development and testing of LTE Advanced Pro and mmWave technologies, devices, and network capabilities. Our platform is helping manufacturers, operators and other ecosystem players from around the globe get agile in addressing emerging requirements for the Internet of Things (IoT), enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), and Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communications (URLLC), including: higher data rates, lower latency and increased capacity.
When we first debuted Intel’s Mobile Trial Platform (MTP) at Mobile World Congress in February of 2016, I cautioned that it was imperative to start development, prototyping and testing right away. Six months later, I’m proud to say that not only has Intel’s MTP delivered critical (and early) key learnings related to technologies, standards, and chipset requirements—but that these takeaways have also allowed us to rapidly iterate, launching a second, matured generation of our integrated MTP in record time.
Intel’s Mobile Trial Platform consists of three main components:
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1. Five Powerful Next-Gen Arria 10 FPGA Signal Processors Provide Incredible Flexibility – Enabling Rapid Innovation to Meet Emerging Chipset Requirements
Our acquisition of Altera has allowed us to incorporate FPGA reprogrammable chips within the unit so that we can respond rapidly to emerging 5G air interface requirements for chipsets, and update the MTP’s processing layers quickly.
2. Advanced RF Unit Supports Sub-6GHz & 28GHz mmWave Bands with Four-Stream MIMO within the RFIC – Accelerating Spectral Capacity Optimization
With spectral resources in limited supply — delivering the right amount of data, at the right rate, over the right air interface, within the right area, to the right device, in the most efficient way possible is critical. Breaking into new spectral ranges will enable more than 50 billion “things” to connect, and allow operators to deliver enhanced mobile broadband experiences previously undreamt of.
In the newest version of our MTP, we’ve integrated 2×4 and 4X4 (dual-polarized) array configurations directly into the front-end RFIC, incorporating observations we’ve already gathered about the behaviors of mmWave spectrum and massive MIMO, both indoors and outdoors, in early field tests with Verizon. This means we’re closer to a real product, with amazing link and system capacity.
3. Communications Protocol Stack Based on the Intel® Core™ i7 Processor, in a 10% Smaller (compared to the previous platform), Portable Chassis, Allows for Fast Field & Interoperability Testing – Speeding Network & Device Deployments
The communications stack is the last piece of the pie. Collectively, these elements give Intel a fully-capable 5G mobile solution in a very small form factor that’s easy to test end-to-end at a systems-level, from the network to the device, no matter where you are.
Hearkening back to my earlier quote, Intel is working with ecosystem partners, around the globe to get the doing done – bringing to bear the 5G vision of a fully-smart and connected world. The engineer within me is excited to be part of building something “great,” delivering on the promise of 5G. The Intel leader within me is proud to be working with manufacturers, operators and other partners around the world, to make that greatness available to everyone – changing the way we live our lives with 5G.
Follow Intel’s Path to 5G on Twitter @IntelNetwork.
– Ken Stewart, Chief Wireless Technologist, Platform Engineering Group