Intel 5G platform to power 2018 Winter Olympics network

Intel's 5G mobile trial platform, processors, and technologies will be used for Korea Telecom's 5G network for the Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games next year.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Intel has announced that it will be providing its 5G mobile trial platform for the 5G network being deployed by Korea Telecom (KT) for the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games.

Under the agreement, Intel will also provide its processors to power edge and core computing capabilities, as well as its 5G technologies including FlexRAN.

According to senior VP of Intel's Network Platforms Group Sandra Rivera, Winter Olympics attendees will be given access to gigabit-speed wireless broadband, low-latency video, and live-streamed content at Gangneung Olympic Park; in Gwanghwamun, Seoul; and at other Korean Olympic venues.

"Our joint activations will give visitors a unique opportunity to experience 5G technologies. And they will highlight Intel's unique 5G strengths across the network, client, and cloud," Rivera said.

"During the games' window, KT will deliver the first broad-scale 5G network paired with Intel 5G technologies that will enable a series of immersive onsite 5G-powered experiences."

KT had successfully demonstrated 5G technology to the Winter Olympics committee back in February last year, with the inclusion of a 360-degree virtual reality (VR) viewing experience which the telco said will provide multiple channels in real time, allowing home viewers to watch the Winter Olympic Games from different directions and angles.

At the time, KT said it was also planning "Sync View", which will use a small camera on a wireless network module to stream ultra-high definition (UHD) video using a 5G antenna; holograms of players; and "5G security" facial-recognition technology to transmit drone and camera footage to the Olympic control centre for security purposes.

For the games, KT said it would provide 35,000 wired lines, a wireless network that can host 250,000 devices simultaneously, 5,000 wireless access points, and an additional datacentre.

Intel's third-generation 5G Mobile Trial Platform was unveiled in September, following its first 5G trial platform in February 2016. The first platform had supported sub-6GHz and mmWave spectrum, with its second-generation platform integrating 4x4 Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (4x4 MIMO) launched a year ago.

The new platform allows for device development by supporting initial 5G NR specifications in live tests with partners by the end of this year, which will then be developed alongside 3GPP standards. It is powered by Intel's field-programmable gate array (FGPA) circuits and Core i7 processors.

At launch, it will support 3GPP NR early interoperability; the 600-900MHz, 3.3-4.2GHz, 4.4-4.9GHz, 5.1-5.9GHz, 28GHz, and 39GHz spectrum bands; and a mobile interoperability solution for end-to-end 5G field testing.

Intel has previously worked with KT and with SK Telecom on 5G mobile device and network developments and verification, including a modem that supports 5G, concepts for anchor-booster cell and Massive MIMO, solutions for Licensed Assisted Access (LAA), virtual network platforms, and joint standardisation.

SK Telecom has also been conducting field trials of 5G, last month successfully linking 4G and 5G networks as well as reducing 5G latency to 2 milliseconds.

"A lot of the early [Korean] trials have been on fixed-wireless, because when you bring up a new mobile technology, you first want to make sure that it's a great technology, and so to do that you focus on fixed point-to-point use cases," Rob Topol, general manager of 5G Business and Technology for Intel globally, told ZDNet in September.

"A lot of work also has been millimetre-wave based ... we've been able to get multi-gigabit-per-second connections which have been fantastic, and so we're starting to apply that now into automotive use cases ... and then we're starting to do testing on lower frequencies now, the sub-6GHz frequencies which are more like the way that cellular and Wi-Fi technologies work today where it's kind of a broader umbrella coverage."

In the US, AT&T is using Intel's 5G mobile trial platform in its Indiana, Texas, and Michigan trials, while Verizon relies on Intel for its 11 pre-commercial 5G trial networks. The Verizon trials have also been used for testing interoperability and mmWave spectrum.

Intel has additionally developed a mini Cloud-RAN concept with China Mobile; conducted 5G handset chipset trials with NTT DoCoMo; worked on 5G use cases with Telstra; developed use cases for 5G devices and architectures with Deutsche Telekom; tested 5G devices and technologies using Telefonica's NFV Reference lab and open research lab 5Tonic; and used Vodafone's innovation labs in the UK to test hardware and software and conduct 5G trials on Vodafone's global radio and core networks.

Intel has additonally been partnering with networking companies worldwide, collaborating with Ericsson on 5G, cloud, and IoT trials, as well as interoperability across 3.5GHz; Nokia on pre-standard 5G radio technologies, networking solutions, and interoperability; and Huawei on 5G NR, cloud, and network function virtualisation (NFV) solutions.

Intel has also worked with [PDF] Cisco on developing and trialling a 5G router; ZTE on developing a 5G network slicing prototype for China Mobile utilising Intel Xeon processors; and LG Electronics on developing and trialling 5G telematics technology for automotive applications.

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