Corning and Intel announced a collaboration ahead of Mobile World Congress LA to improve 5G network availability inside buildings, using Corning’s fiber optics technologies to deliver the wired backhaul to the base station, and Intel’s FlexRAN reference software architecture and Xeon server processors.

One of the difficulties of 5G networks is delivering adequate signal strength inside large office buildings. Presently, most 5G services in North America are built to use millimeter wave (mmWave) frequencies, providing headline-generating speed, but require network base stations to be deployed in higher densities, as mmWave networks propagate to a shorter distance than lower-frequency (e.g. 2.4 GHz) networks.

SEE: 5G mobile networks: A cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The Corning/Intel platform offering is planned for commercial availability in 2020. In addition to the aforementioned Intel hardware, the processor firm’s N3000 FPGA programmable acceleration card and 700-series 10/25/40Gb ethernet network adapters are part of the platform.

One potential application of this technology includes Verizon’s plans to bring 5G to 13 NFL stadiums for the 2019-2020 season.

Apple agreed to acquire Intel’s 5G modem business in July for $1 billion, following Intel’s abrupt exit from the 5G modem business in April. The business unit was tasked with making 5G modems for smartphones, in competition with Qualcomm and Huawei, among others. Prior to the sale, Apple was Intel’s apparently sole client for the 5G modem business. Separately, Apple announced a $250 million investment into Corning for production of the company’s Gorilla Glass product, which is integrated into iPhone and iPad systems.

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