5G the free WiFi killer, according to Intel

August 24, 2015 // By R. Colin Johnson
5G may be not much more than a moniker for what comes after 4G, but Intel clarified its vision recently at a keynote during the Intel Developer Forum 2015 (IDF, San Francisco, August 18-20). "Seamless" is the goal and it comes at a price.

The top-line is that Intel hopes to apply all its expertise in computing, networking and wireless communications to make a seamless 5G solution that incorporates distributed intelligence at all levels--from the smartphone to the router to the base-station aggregator to cloudlets, clouds and our fastest supercomputers.

The bottom line is that cellular, WiFi, centimeter- and millimeter wavelength bands must be seamlessly integrated from the user's point-of-view, according to Aicha Evans, vice president of platform engineering group and general manager of the communications and devices group at Intel.

"5G is not about faster, but about integrating all types of connectivity," Evans told her keynote attendees at IDF. "The building blocks of 5G are already here today."

To the carriers this integration will come at a price, since 5G-for-all presents the opportunity to kill free WiFi and instead charge users for every data packet they send or receive, no matter which of the integrated communications technologies is used.

At Evans' keynote she gathered together carriers, service providers and strategists to outline what it is that they expect from 5G, including Alex Choi, chief technical officer (CTO) of SK Telecom (Asia), Bin Shen, Verizon’s vice president of strategy (U.S.) and Paul McNamara, vice president of Ericsson’s corporate strategy group (Europe).

The goal of 5G is to give even meager mobile devices access to the virtually unlimited power available in the cloud (Source: Intel).

However, before the panel painted the world-changing picture of extraordinary speeds and ultra-low latency - at a price - Intel's Sandra Rivera, vice president of the data center group and general manager of the Internet of Things (IoT) described the benefits of 5G to the users.

"Intelligence will begin with at the base station," Rivera asserted to the crowd at IDF. "Creating more immersive experiences."