MWC 2019: Intel announces new 5G SoC, N3000 FPGA PAC and partnerships

By Mithun Mohandas | Updated Mar 22 2019
MWC 2019: Intel announces new 5G SoC, N3000 FPGA PAC and partnerships

Intel announced Snow Ridge adoption by Ericsson and ZTE, N3000 FPGA PAC, Xeon D "Hewitt Lake" processors and more at Mobile World Congress 2019

Intel had several new announcements at Mobile World Congress (MWC 2019) involving several new hardware launches and product updates for some from their existing portfolio. Also announced were partnerships with firms deploying 5G hardware in all markets. Here's a short summary of what was announced:

Intel Xeon D "Hewitt Lake"

Designed for edge compute and storage purposes, the new Intel Xeon-D processors codenamed "Hewitt Lake" features an improved base frequency over the older gen Xeon D-1500 NS. The Xeon D-1500 family was built on the Skylake-SP microarchitecture and Intel didn't reveal much details about the new Hewitt Lake processors. Ideally, this would be based on the upcoming successor to the Skylake-SP family and would have hardware mitigations for Spectre and Meltdown.

5G M.2 Module in partnership with Fibocom

Fibocom Wireless, a company that develops wireless communication modules will be producing an M.2 form factor module powered by the Intel XMM 8160 5G modem. The M.2 module, called FG100, will allow gateway manufacturers such as D-Link, Gemtek, Arcadyan, and VVDN to upgrade their existing gateways which are based on the Intel XMM 7560 4G modem to the newer 5G standard. As of now, we are unaware if these new M.2 modules will support both, sub-6GHz and mmWave, or just one of these.

FPGA PAC N3000 for 5G networking

Intel also announced the N3000 Programmable Acceleration Card that's designed for telecom providers to deal with the dynamic nature of network data traffic. The FPGA PAC N3000 is designed to enable low latency operations and can support a bandwidth of 100 Gbps in two configuration modes - 8 x 10 Gbps or 4 x 25 Gbps. To do this, it uses two Intel XL710 NICs. Since this is an FPGA product, it will be powered by Intel's own Arria 10 GT1150 FPGA chip which has 1.15 million logic elements.

RF module in partnership with Skyworks

For the Intel XMM 8160 modem, Intel is partnering with Skyworks for the RF front end module. This involves clubbing the Intel SMARTi RF transceiver with the Skyworks Sky5 multi-band front-end modules. When asked if Intel is limiting their products to use just Skyworks RF front-end modules, they declined to comment on their vendor strategy. 

Snow Ridge Networking SoC

One of the key announcements at MWC 2019 was that Ericsson and ZTE have plans to adopt the Intel Snow Ridge SoC for their 5G base station designs. Snow Ridge will be using Intel's 10nm process node and is expected to enter production in the second-half of 2019. Snow Ridge was unveiled earlier this year at CES 2019

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