Intel and AT&T have partnered to test 5G and its multi-gigabit cellular. Though the technology won’t hit the market until 2020, AT&T is all set to launch its first customer trial (the first 5G trial for any business user in the U.S.) of 5G technologies, according to PC World.
What to expect with the 5G trial?
At Intel’s facility, AT&T and network equipment vendor Ericsson will show how 5G speed could be used to speed up business applications like VPNs and unified communications. They also wish to dive into 4K video and regular Internet access and expect the speeds to compete with that of cable broadband, notes PC World.
“This trial is a significant step forward. We’re leaving the lab and heading into the field with a real-world business customer,” said Rick Hubbard of AT&T in a press release.
Millimeter-wave wireless is one of the main concepts expected to be part of 5G, and AT&T and Ericsson will be testing it. Wide bands of available frequencies will be useful for these systems, with new techniques and antenna designs helping millimeter-wave signals go beyond their traditionally short ranges.
The resulting speed should be very high. Speeds like 4Gbps (bits per second) for live 4K video streams on Sprint at a soccer game and even 48Gbps on super-high 70GHz frequencies at Japan’s NTT DoCoMo were observed in some of the small trials that already took place this year, notes PC World.
5G could help Intel catch up to rivals
Intel’s facility in Austin, Texas will be used for the trial. AT&T state that the trial would last for one month and will use just one cell site. The area covered will have a radius of approximately 300 meters.
AT&T’s choosing Intel for the trial does not come as a surprise, as the chip maker has been aggressively researching technologies for 5G client and network equipment.
Rob Topol, general manager for Intel’s 5G business, explained, “We’re trying to force a little bit of congestion.”
Intel, which lags Qualcomm, hopes that the transition to 5G will help it catch up to not just Qualcomm but also other more established chip makers in the mobile area that have dominated the 3G and 4G eras, notes Fortune. Even though it did succeed in convincing Apple to use one of its 4G modem chips in some iPhone 7 models, Intel’s mobile efforts have failed to get the expected results overall. Intel’s traditional business has been to supply chips for PCs, but that has slowed dramatically. Thus, it is looking for new growth areas and is hoping to find one in 5G.