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As the telecommunications industry transitions to 5G, 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 announced an expanded lineup of hardware, software and solutions for network infrastructure, including: enhancements to Intel’s software reference architecture, FlexRAN; Intel® virtualized radio access network (vRAN) dedicated accelerator; network-optimized next-generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable and D processors (code-named “Ice Lake”); and upgraded Intel® Select Solutions for Network Function Virtualization Infrastructure (NFVI).
“When you consider the collective impact of the proliferation of fully virtualized cloud architectures combined with the commercialization 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. It’s an enormous opportunity for us and our customers to not only deliver new experiences but transform entire industries.”
–Dan Rodriguez, Intel corporate vice president and general manager of the Network Platforms Group
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 virtualization with an expected 50% of core network deployments transforming to virtualized networks this year1, and virtualization extending to the radio access network (RAN). Implementing a cloud architecture brings the same server economics that transformed the data center 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 optimizations 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, today 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-optimized 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 maximize platform performance. These upgraded solutions are coming soon.