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Intel announces its first 5G M.2 modem for laptops

Intel logo with 5G M2 modem for laptops written against a green background

Ahead of this year's virtual Computex event, Intel has announced the first 5G product to come from its partnership with MediaTek, which it announced in late 2019. The Intel 5G Solution 5000 is an M.2 5G system for laptops, which allows OEMs to more easily come up with 5G designs, using a standardized interface.

The Intel 5G Solution 5000 comes with support for sub-6GHz 5G, and there's no mmWave support. It can also connect to 4G LTE and 3G WCDMA. The product has been carrier certified in most major regions around the world, so laptops that adopt this solution can be sold in most markets. It's also supported by Windows, Chrome OS, and Linux.

MediaTek had begun sampling the first Intel 5G solution, based on the T700 modem, last summer, and the two companies also worked with Fibocom, which helped with carrier certification and regulatory support. Fibocom also handles manufacturing, sales, and distribution of the 5G M.2 modules.

The Intel 5G Solution 5000 M2 module

Of course, while using the M.2 format reduces some of the complexity of implementing 5G in a laptop, it's not as simple as inserting this solution in an M.2 slot on any laptop. The devices still need antennas for cellular reception.

Despite its early announcement of the collaboration with MediaTek all the way back in 2019, Intel ended up being sucker-punched by Qualcomm, which announced its own 5G M.2 reference designs about a week ago, based on the Snapdragon X62 and X65 modems.

The first designs with Intel's 5G Solution 5000 will be available this year with manufacturers such as Acer, ASUS, and HP among the first to use in their designs. Next year, we should see over 30 designs that include the solution.

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