Intel announces ‘Snow Ridge’ base station 5G cellphone tower architecture

Intel Snow Ridge

Intel wants in on the 5G infrastructure action.

At the company’s CES 2019 press conference, Intel confirmed that its 5G cellphone tower base station solution is called ‘Snow Ridge.’

This system-on-chip isn’t designed for smartphones but instead aims to be used as a wireless base station solution, allowing carriers that plan to offer 5G to boost the efficiency of their network, according to Intel. The chip, which was shown off in a relatively small black box during the keynote (seen below), would be situated on cell phone towers, says Intel.

Snow Ridge is manufactured with 10nm (nanometer) technology, similar to the silicon maker’s ‘Ice Lake‘ computer and laptop chipsets.

Intel Snow RidgeThis is new territory for Intel, with the company stating that it expects Snow Ridge will move the company from holding a zero percent market share in the base station space, to a roughly 40 percent stake by 2022.

A brief demo showed off during Intel’s CES 2019 keynote demonstrated how Snow Ridge is capable of serving multiple data streams from various types of applications, with total bandwidth amounting theoretically to 100Gbps. No specific equipment partnerships with carriers were announced during Intel’s press conference. It’s possible the company could be saving this reveal for Mobile World Congress (MWC).

Since MWC 2018, Intel has been silent regarding its plans for 5G, with the only exception being the reveal of its XMM 8160 5G modem back in November. The new modem is designed to work with smartphones, laptops, desktop devices and broadband access gateways.

Intel has reportedly fallen behind Qualcomm in the 5G smartphone chip space, though reports from November indicate that Apple’s inevitable 5G smartphone will utilize Intel’s silicon. Apple isn’t expected to release a 5G smartphone until 2020.