During their Olympics keynote ahead of Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Intel senior VPs Sandra Rivera and Aicha Evans laid-out Intel’s 5G strategy. They were joined on-stage by execs from Korea Telecom, NTT DOCOMO and Toyota to share the compelling business value they see from the shift to 5G.
Those and other 5G partners around the globe are working with Intel today, conducting real-world commercial tests. In addition, just days before MWC, Intel 5G gear proved what it could do at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. Using PyeongChang as the largest broad scale deployment of 5G in the world, Intel, along with its partners, showcased 22 5G links across 10 Olympic venues that spanned the country, letting tens of thousands of spectators see, test and experience the power of 5G connectivity.
5G for a smart, connected world
We caught up with Intel MWC booth staffer Farid Adrangi, an Intel senior architect for next-generation networking. We asked him to share his impressions of MWC-2018.
“The show’s focus was on 5G everywhere and the goodness it will bring to users in different segments. In that context, self-driving cars were the biggest story for Intel and many other vendors: 5G modems and powerful processing platforms for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2X) were especially prominent on the exhibit floor,” Farid observed.
“We highlighted Intel end-to-end platform security for connected cars and virtualized network usages with our partners,” he added. “For example, we showcased a trusted payment solution concept for connected cars—both self-driving and human-operated. It combined the Intel® Software Guard Extensions (Intel® SGX) trusted enclave with Worldpay’s in-car payment services for smart/electric car charging, smart parking, smart tolls, smart keys, and more.“
This Intel mock-up showcased 5G-enabled secure payments for EV-charging.
“One of our other big demos was the 5G-connected van. It was the actual van that was used as the first successful multi-vendor 5G connected-car trial in late 2017 with the Intel® GO™ 5G Automotive Platform, in partnership with NTT DOCOMO, Ericsson, Toyota and Denusu,” Farid explained. “The demo showed how connected cars will benefit from ultra-high bandwidth, ultra-low latency, and massive capacity helping to transform vehicles and transportation.”
Connected cars were a big part of the story, but not the only part. “We also showcased a solution concept that combined the Intel SGX trusted enclave with Gemalto’s advanced Data Protection On-demand software services, to protect the new generation of cloud-based 5G virtualized networks against cyber-attack,” Farid said.
He added, “Another big thing at MWC was 5G for virtual reality and augmented reality (VR/AR. For example, if you want to learn how to ski, you put the VR goggles on, and it seems so real, like you’re jumping off the cliff—you can feel it in your stomach.”
Wireless 5G makes PC-based VR experiences more real than ever before.
“In addition, massive Internet of Things (IoT) use cases were shown by multiple vendors, to enable a connected world, like Smart Cities with sensors everywhere, as well as factory-automation and robotics.”
Intel’s “Smart Cities” MWC exhibit showcased the value of 5G everywhere.
According to Farid, the highlights at the Intel booth included the connected car demos, the VR experience area, a huge Smart Cities exhibit, and most of all, the prototype 5G-connected PC, which was the number-one voted demo by Intel booth attendees.
The 5G-connected 2-in-1 PC was a big hit at Intel’s MWC-2018 booth.
Farid added, “We had big crowds, like last year, and we got a lot of compliments on our in-car payment demo from the media, including its recognition in more than one ‘Top 10 Demos’ list.”
Six highlights from this year’s event
For Intel and our ecosystem partners, these announcements and demos stood-out at MWC-2018:
- 5G at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo—5G technology from Intel’s labs played a key role at Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. Intel and Korea Telecom deployed the world’s largest 5G array at 10 sites around the Olympics, enabling unique new camera angles of athletes in action, and live 360-degree video feeds beamed to spectators. What’s next, you ask? Intel and NTT DOCOMO revealed 5G will power new experiences at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
- The world’s first demo of a live 5G connection—At the Intel’s MWC booth, people could see and operate the world’s first 5G-connected “concept PC.” What’s more, they could interact with it on the world’s first 5G wireless feed. That 5G New Radio (NR) Wi-Fi spec was finalized by the wireless consortium at the beginning of this year. Although Intel tested 5G NR in the lab and in limited field trials, we showed the live capabilities of 5G to a large audience for the first time at MWC-2018.
- 5G-enabled PCs coming in late 2019—Leading up to MWC, Intel announced agreements with four of the biggest players in the PC industry: Dell, HP, Lenovo and Microsoft. They will merge Intel’s 5G multi-mode modems into a new class of 2-in-1 PCs to support 5G while remaining backward-compatible all the way back to 2G connections. At our booth, Intel showed off a 5G PC prototype running on 8th Generation Intel® Core® processors. The first wave of these devices is expected to arrive in time for the 2019 holiday buying season.
- New Intel® Xeon® system-on-a-chip brings 5G to the edge—Communications OEMs and telcos around the world face growing needs for compute power at the edge. To meet that need, Intel introduced the Intel® Xeon® D-2100 system-on-a-chip (SoC) for mobile edge computing (MEC). Rather than streaming high-intensity workloads to a faraway data center for processing, the new SoC is designed to move the computing much closer to edge-devices, minimizing latency.
- Intel and Spreadtrum to drive 5G phones in China—5G phones will be available in China late next year using Intel® XMM 8000-series modems and Spreadtrum application processors. At MWC, Intel and Spreadtrum jointly revealed plans to collaborate for several years.
- 5G NR Interoperability with Huawei—Intel and Huawei showed interoperability of the 5G New Radio (5G NR) specification between Intel Mobile Trial Platform (MTP) and a Huawei 5G base station based on 3GPP Release 15 specs. Intel and Huawei, along with Deutsche Telekom announced in late January that they had achieved the world’s first multi-vendor 5G NR interoperability, moving the industry an important step closer to full 5G commercialization.
Spotlight on software
Hardware innovations launched at MWC-2018 included Intel® Silicon Photonics 100G transceivers for 5G, as well as 5G-based PCs, mobile platforms, and MEC servers from multiple vendors. But for many, software took the spotlight. Here are some examples that highlight 5G’s rapid advance:
- Quanta Cloud Technology announced its QuantaGrid* D52BQ-2U Intel® Select Solution for Network Function Virtualization infrastructure (NFVi), verified to build an optimized NFVi with Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors, Intel® QuickAssist Technology (Intel® QAT) and the Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK).
- NEC Corp joined with NTT DOCOMO to showcase its use of FlexRAN, Intel’s 5G reference architecture which includes a reference-ready software development kit based on the DPDK.
- Pivot launched its Smart Edge* advanced developer platform designed to support enterprise MEC solutions, and built to operate on Intel technology.
- VMware announced it will provide customers with DPDK network acceleration on Intel® Xeon® processors, Intel poll mode drivers for VMware* vSphere*, improved memory throughput on Intel Xeon Scalable processors, and more.
- Gemalto and Intel demonstrated SafeNet Data Protection On-Demand*, a cloud-based, security-as-a-service platform that offers developers a single gateway to implement software solutions direct to Intel SGX.
- Worldpay and Intel demonstrated Worldpay Within* using Intel SGX secure enclaves to enable and protect payments between connected cars and other IoT devices—examples include electric vehicle (EV) charging, bridge tolls, and more.
5G possibilities are 'beyond exciting'
Intel is helping create global standards, sparking new business models, and partnering with telcos and network operators around the world.
“5G will not just enable smart cities and fleets of autonomous vehicles,” says Intel Sr. VP Aicha Evans. “It’ll change the way athletes and spectators experience the Olympic Games.”
Intel Sr. VP Aicha Evans speaking at MWC-2018
She added, “We’re beyond excited to make these possibilities a reality, as well as new ones that were previously unimaginable!”
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