Earlier this week Intel announced a new standalone 3G modem it hopes will bring connectivity to a new generation of devices. Roughly 300 millimeters^2 in size, the XMM6255 is officially the world’s smallest standalone 3G modem, and just the right fit for devices normally considered too small themselves for 3G radio connectivity, including wearables, or the minute monitors and sensors that will comprise the Internet of Things (IoT).
The XMM6255 modem uses Intel’s X-GOLD 625 baseband and has a dual-band HSPA configuration with 7.2Mbps downstream and 5.76Mbps upstream speeds (quad-band 2G and A-GPS are also supported as optional ad-ons, but require an external power amplifier). The modem also features Intel’s SMARTI UE2p transceiver, designed to protect the modem from damage cause by excessive heat or voltage spikes, making the XMM6255 perfect for for security-related devices that must be as failure-adverse as possible.
While Intel obviously expects the XMM6255 to be a big player in the IoT hardware market, it’s exciting to think how standalone 3G modems of its ilk could free the wearable market from its current reliance upon smartphone pairing to provide core functionality.