Intel Turns Its Focus to 5G Networking
At the Mobile World Congress show, the giant chip maker unveils a range of partnerships and products designed to accelerate the transition to 5G.Intel officials want to establish the chip maker as a dominant player in the developing world of 5G networks, and are using the Mobile World Congress 2016 show this week to make that message clear to the industry. At the show, which runs through Feb. 25 in Barcelona, Spain, Intel is laying out a broad array of partnerships with industry players designed to drive innovation, research and development around 5G and unveiling new products that move the company and industry down the path toward 5G. The company was famously late in responding to the rapid rise of smartphones and tablets several years ago, and also backed the WiMax standard for 4G networks, which eventually lost out to LTE. Under CEO Brian Krzanich's almost-three-year-old tenure, the chip maker has been aggressive in pursuing emerging markets like the Internet of things (IoT), wearable devices and networking gears, and is targeting 5G networking as an important space. The skyrocketing growth in the number of connected devices and systems worldwide—Intel officials are predicting more than 50 billion such devices by 2020—the rise of bandwidth-sapping applications like video in mobile networking, and the looming trends toward smart cities and connected homes are putting increasing pressure on networks that need to become faster, smarter, more efficient and more flexible, according to Intel officials.
The company wants to supply the technology that underpins not only the underlying infrastructure but also the massive numbers of connected devices. With 5G, the industry will see the cellular network transform from a personal communications platform—such as current 3G and 4G networks, which primarily help link devices like smartphones and tablets—to a computing platform, according to Aicha Evans, corporate vice president of Intel's Platform Engineering Group and general manager of the chip maker's Communication and Devices Group.