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Intel rolls out additions and enhancements to 5G network infrastructure offerings

Intel has expanded its 5G network infrastructure offerings according to a new announcement from the company. The expanded lineup includes hardware, software and solutions for network infrastructure.

As the telecommunications industry transitions to 5G, the next wave of network transformation represents a $25 billion silicon opportunity by 2023, Intel states. The new additions are designed to aid ‘a perfect storm of 5G, edge buildout and pervasive artificial intelligence (AI)’, Intel states.

The enhancements are to Intel’s software reference architecture, FlexRAN; Intel's virtualised radio access network (vRAN) dedicated accelerator; the company's network-optimised next-generation Intel Xeon Scalable and D processors (code-named 'Ice Lake'); and Intel Select Solutions for Network Function Virtualisation Infrastructure (NFVI).

FlexRAN enhancements include optimisations to its massive multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) mid-band pipeline for increased bandwidth and support for ultra-reliable low-latency communication (URLLC.)

Intel vRAN Dedicated Accelerator ACC100 is the company's low-power and low-cost acceleration solution for vRAN deployments. It's based on Intel eASIC technology and is sampling to customers, offloading and accelerating 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, the company states.

To bring the product to market, Intel works with service providers including Telefonica and various partners, including Altiostar, ASTRI, Baicells, Comba, H3C, HPE, Mavenir, Nokia, QCT, Radisys, Ruijie, Silicom, Supermicro, and ZT Systems.

With the company's next generation Intel Xeon processors for network infrastructure, 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, intel states.

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, according to the company. Intel expects to start shipping these processors to customers in mid-2021.

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 Personalisation (DDP) to maximise platform performance. These upgraded solutions are coming soon.

Intel corporate vice president and general manager of the Network Platforms Group Dan Rodriguez says, “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.

"It’s an enormous opportunity for us and our customers to not only deliver new experiences but transform entire industries.”

According to Intel, the next wave of network transformation is further fuelled 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.

These latest 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, the company states.