Intel targets 5G base stations with 'Snow Ridge' chips

Intel’s plans for 5G are extending from the device into mobile network infrastructure with the launch of a new processor for base stations.

At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the chip giant detailed ‘Snow Ridge’ – a system on a chip (SoC) platform that promises to make base stations more intelligent and enable low-latency applications.

Intel Snow Ridge 5G

5G networks will enable faster speeds, greater capacity and ultra-low latency. But the latency promise can only be fulfilled through a decentralisation of the core network so that data can be processed nearer the point of collection.

Intel believes its expertise in edge computing and in the data centre means it can increase its base station market share from 0 in 2014 to 40 per cent in 2022.

Snow Ridge promises 100Gbps data rates and the ability to offer multiple streams for different types of application. Crucially, it is capable of prioritising certain types of data traffic, meaning that latency-sensitive applications will be given priority over video streaming for example.

It is thought the chip will be released later this year, complementing the company’s other pursuits in 5G.

Intel has partnered with a number of operators in 5G testing and plans to launch a 5G modem in 2019. It has been tipped to help launch a 5G iPhone in 2020 using its 8161 modem and there are plans to bring 5G connectivity to laptops.

The company also helped deliver 5G-enabled broadcasts at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, with 22 links at 10 sites delivering 3,800TB of network capacity.

The first 5G smartphones are expected within the next few months, the majority of which will be powered by Qualcomm’s technology.

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Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.