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Intel To Bring 5G Networking To Laptops

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In April this year, Intel canceled its 5G-modem building plans. However, it’s announcing that they’re back this time, with system-on-chip vendor MediaTek building the hardware.


Intel Modem 5G


The partnership has Intel setting the 5G specifications, MediaTek developing the modem, and Intel optimizing and validating it afterward. Intel will also lend its marketing and integration muscle to convince original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to use new hardware and make sure it works well in final products. This also means Intel will be writing operating-system-level drivers for the modems.


The partnership seems a logical one for both parties. Intel has been struggling to get its own 10nm hardware out the door on time, so handing it over the hardware design task to MediaTek may relieve some pressure, while still keeping the company in an emerging market.


MediaTek, on the other hand, can definitely benefit from Intel’s software development expertise and deep integration with OEM vendors in the PC space.


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Long-Term Project

Specifically, the companies will be adapting MediaTek’s existing Helio M70 5G modem for use in PC hardware. The M70 modem is already being built into MediaTek’s Dimensity family of ARM System-on-Chip (SoC) designs; the new partnership gives MediaTek a whole new platform to market to and gives Intel a foot back into the door in 5G.


It also may represent a way for Intel to push back against ARM-based Windows hardware like Samsung’s Galaxy Book S, built on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx platform.


The Intel/MediaTek collaboration is a long-term project, and we expect to see the resulting hardware shipping sometime in 2021.


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