TheNFAPost Podcast

Chennai, NFAPost: The next wave of network transformation represents a $25 billion silicon opportunity by 2023.

To benefit from a perfect storm of 5G, edge buildout and pervasive artificial intelligence (AI), Intel has announced an expanded lineup of hardware, software and solutions for network infrastructure, including: enhancements to Intel’s software reference architecture, FlexRAN; Intel virtualised radio access network (vRAN) dedicated accelerator; network-optimised next-generation Intel Xeon Scalable and D processors (code-named “Ice Lake”); and upgraded Intel Select Solutions for Network Function Virtualisation Infrastructure (NFVI).

“When you consider the collective impact of the proliferation of fully virtualised cloud architectures combined with the commercialisation of 5G, the rise of AI and the growth of the edge, it truly has a multiplier effect that makes each more impactful than it would be on its own,” said
Intel corporate vice president and general manager of the Network Platforms Group DAN RODRIGUEZ

For the past decade, Intel has been on a journey with the communications industry to transform the network with a software-defined, agile and scalable infrastructure. The next wave of network transformation is further fueled by 5G, driven by the need to deliver both network services and new AI-based edge services across multiple network locations.

This wave is driving a rapid transition to cloud native technologies and virtualisation with an expected 50% of core network deployments transforming to virtualised networks this year, and virtualisation extending to the radio access network (RAN).

Implementing a cloud architecture brings the same server economics that transformed the data centre and enhances security by allowing networks to be more rapidly repaired, updated and protected. Intel’s full suite of feature-rich silicon, software and tools– and experience in supporting customers transform networks enable quicker deployment across core, access and edge.

Expanded portfolio offerings include:

  • FlexRAN: Intel’s software reference architecture grew to nearly 100 licensees and added enhancements including optimisations to its massive multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) mid-band pipeline for increased bandwidth and support for ultra-reliable low-latency communication (URLLC.) Amdocs, a licensee, announced FlexRAN integration with its SmartRAN analytics solution.
  • Intel vRAN Dedicated Accelerator ACC100: The low-power and low-cost acceleration solution for vRAN deployments is based on Intel eASIC technology and is sampling to customers. It offloads and accelerates the computing-intensive process of forward error correction. This frees up more processing power within Intel Xeon processors for channel capacity and edge-based services and applications. To bring the product to market, Intel works with leading service providers including Telefonica and various partners, including Altiostar, ASTRI, Baicells, Comba, H3C, HPE, Mavenir, Nokia, QCT, Radisys, Ruijie, Silicom, Supermicro, and ZT Systems.
  • Next Generation Intel Xeon processors for network infrastructure: With these processors, customers can use a common architecture across the network for various workloads and performance requirements.
    • Network-optimised 3rd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors (code-named “Ice Lake-SP”) are designed for infrastructure use cases that require higher performance per watt, including wireless core, wireless access and network edge workloads and security appliances. 3rd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors will ship to customers at the end of the year.
    • Next-generation Intel Xeon D processors (code-named “Ice Lake-D”) are designed for form factor-constrained environments at the edge and will offer greater levels of integration like built-in networking IP. Intel expects to start shipping these processors to customers in mid-2021.
  • Enhanced Intel Select Solutions for network: To improve application efficiency and network performance for high-performance network workloads, Intel Select Solutions for NFVI Red Hat, NFVI Ubuntu and NFVI Forwarding Platform have been upgraded to support the new Intel Ethernet 800 Series Network Adapter (code-named “Columbiaville”), which delivers increased performance and Dynamic Device Personalization (DDP) to maximise platform performance. These upgraded solutions are coming soon, Intel said.

What Customers Are Deploying:

  • Rakuten Mobile: Rakuten Mobile’s 5G mobile network, launched September 30, is architected with a breadth of Intel technology. “By building a virtualised, cloud native network we realise significant economies of scale that kept the capital and operating costs of the network efficient,” said Tareq Amin, CTO, Rakuten Mobile Inc., and group executive vice president and CAO at Rakuten.
  • SK Telecom: SK Telecom announced a formal collaboration with Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Intel and Samsung Electronics that will result in more rapid introduction of new hardware and software technologies, like the upcoming 3rd generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors (code-named “Ice Lake”), into SK Telecom’s network.
  • Verizon: In collaboration with Intel, Samsung and Wind River, Verizon successfully completed the world’s first fully virtualized end-to-end 5G data session to enable faster response to customers’ latency and computing needs.

Intel is the world’s leading network silicon provider. Its diverse network infrastructure and edge-ready product offerings, robust developer tools and global partner ecosystem deliver breakthrough business value across the telecommunications industry.

These transformations across the network are critical to achieve the full potential of 5G, edge and AI outcomes across a range of industries, including retail, education, healthcare and more. It has more than 15,000 edge deployments.

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