Although this year’s Mobile World Congress is expected to be quite modest, it is clear that many companies in the telecommunications industry are still using the convention’s time frame to make important announcements. What is particularly interesting is the scope of news related to network infrastructure equipment, the chips that power this equipment, and the software transformation of this often secret, little-understood world of network infrastructure.
Intel started with an event called Edge of Wonderful, during which the company described the current development of 5G networks and the ability to power critical computer applications. As part of the broader discussion, Intel also introduced a number of specific new products aimed at activating some of these new features. The latest addition to Agilex’s line of FPGA chips speeds up cryptography to support encrypted data on 5G networks, and the new Synchronous Ethernet (SyncE) network card, part of the company’s Ethernet 800 Series, is designed to synchronize sensitive network applications.
Intel has also announced several software-based offerings, including a new software architecture called the Intel Network Platform to help service providers and network equipment manufacturers take full advantage of the company’s various silicon and software components. Consisting of software drivers, building blocks, drawings, and reference architectures, the Intel Network Platform is designed to make the transition to a more software-defined network infrastructure easier to achieve. Intel Smart Edge is a new combination of two existing software components (one of which was formerly called OpenNESS), which was created to facilitate the creation of software for applications such as private networks and finite computing. Although it is essentially a set of tools for developers, the goal is to start from scratch the types of advanced 5G applications that were originally promised to us – e.g. Smart factories, new cloud-based services, etc., but which arrive slowly.
Intel and Ericsson also met in a statement from Ericsson to expand their cloud RAN offerings, in particular for mid-range spectrum (see “CBRS Vs. C-Band: Awareness of the average 5G band“for more). An interesting fact that came out of the message is that mid-band 5G deployment obviously takes 150 times more computing power than 4G and requires response time, which is twice as fast. Not surprisingly, this burdens the significant computing infrastructure needed to power this work, which is why Ericsson said it has chosen to use Intel’s latest Xeon Scalable server processors and specialized accelerators for its efforts.
On Ericsson’s side, the new effort is an extension of its software-based virtualized RAN tools, which are designed to accommodate a more flexible set of physical radios and network architectures. Although this is part of the company’s growing efforts to move to a cloud world based on software network infrastructure, it works with Ericsson Cloud Link, which allows the software-defined Cloud RAN to connect and co-exist with the large base of existing ones. hardware based, specially built networks. For most existing telecommunications service providers around the world, this real-world scenario, sometimes called the blue field, is what they will face for many years to come.
Finally, as part of an event the company called Samsung Networks: Redefined, Samsung unveiled some key new silicon components and network infrastructure equipment designed to improve 5G network coverage. The event provided a quick, impressive overview of all the work the company’s network division has done for 5G, including advances in 5G modems, virtualized infrastructure, software, small cells, mmWave and more. The company even used the event to annoy some of the advanced research and development it is currently doing for 6G.
As for the here and now, Samsung Networks has specifically made two new product announcements for the event, both expected to enable the development of 5G network infrastructure for 2022. First, the company introduced a series of new chips that meet the the requirements of 3GPP Document Release 16 (see “Beware, 5G is coming, phase 2The third generation mmWave RFIC, the second generation 5G SOC modem and a new version of its DFE-RFIC (Digital Front End / Radio Frequency Integrated Circuit) are specifically designed to equip the network infrastructure. Samsung plans to use them in its own branded networking equipment, including Massive MIMO radios, Compact Macro Cells and next-generation baseband devices.In particular, the chips offer support for a wider range of mmWave and sub-6 frequencies with faster bandwidth, and they do so with more -lower power, which allows the creation of smaller, lower power, but faster 5G network installations.
Similarly, the company’s second announcement was for One Antenna Radio, which combines mid-band Massive MIMO radio with traditional passive antennas for frequencies below 3 GHz. The result is a physically smaller, easier-to-install, consolidated solution that reduces operating costs for telecom operators.
Separately, each of the messages from these different providers may be relatively modest, but together they represent another important step towards the transformation of the 5G network that began a few years ago. The simple truth is that the process of fully building the infrastructure needed to power 5G networks and the opportunities they provide is relatively long. As a result, messages like these are a critical part of the progress needed to move 5G forward.
Disclosure: TECHnalysis Research is a market research and consulting firm in the technology industry and, like all companies in the field, works with many technology providers as customers, some of which can be listed in this article.