MWC 2018: Intel and Huawei showcase 5G interoperability

Intel and Huawei will demonstrate the world's first 5G NR over-the-air interoperability trial using the latest 3GPP standards during MWC in Barcelona next week.

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Intel has announced that it will use Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018 to conduct the world's first 5G New Radio (5G NR) over-the-air interoperability public demonstration with Huawei, using the new 3GPP 5G NR non-standalone (NSA) standards set at the end of last year.

"It will be a fully compliant connection, and that's important because since the standard was just voted on in December, obviously there's only so much time to be able to develop a solution that can support and be fully compliant to every feature in the specifications," Intel GM of 5G Advanced Technologies Rob Topol told media.

Read also: Samsung to unveil Galaxy S9 at MWC

Topol referred to Intel's flexible programmable processor platform, saying it allows the company to change and develop the systems as 5G standards evolve.

Intel is now involved in more than 25 5G trials worldwide, he added, and is focused on real-world testing such as at the current PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games in South Korea.

"We are, if it's not obvious, a company that does the primary work of our field testing outside the lab. We take our assets, our prototypes, our products into real-world conditions -- in Korea, we're in subzero temperatures. We're supporting 5G millimetre-wave based lengths, providing connectivity," he said.

"We take our solutions out of the lab and focus on field testing, we see that as the most important way to make sure that those solutions are ready. And it also gives consumers, partners, OEMs, [and] networking infrastructure vendors opportunities to also test and work together. And our efforts have been broad across network, cloud, and clients."

According to Topol, Intel can rapidly prototype and trial its solutions thanks to being a single vendor that can offer everything from the cloud level, down to the device level.

"We expect to see not only significant traffic up through core networks and cloud, but we do expect a high amount of machine-to-machine communication and communication that happens just on the edge of the network. And that's why at Intel we've been actively pursuing trials, prototyping, product development in all of these segments," he said.

Huawei had announced partnering with Intel on interoperability trials based on 3GPP standards back in September.

The companies used Huawei's 5G base station prototype and Intel's third-generation 5G Mobile Trial Platform to test 5G NR across the sub-6GHz spectrum band -- including the C-band between 4GHz and 8GHz -- and the higher-range millimetre-wave (mmWave) spectrum bands.

President of Huawei's 5G Product Line Yang Chaobin had previously said that the networking company has already tested C-Band, mmWave, and downlink-and-uplink decoupling 5G technologies in Beijing.

Huawei has also previously worked with Intel on delivering cloud and network function virtualisation (NFV) solutions to enable telcos to upgrade while laying the foundations for 5G.

Disclosure: Corinne Reichert will travel to MWC in Barcelona as a guest of Huawei

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