Intel is advancing our vision of a fully connected, intelligent society with network innovations from cloud to edge. As the leading network silicon provider, our unmatched portfolio and widespread ecosystem enable our customers to design, deliver and deploy innovative solutions across the entire network.
Early last year, I wrote about why increased demand on the fronthaul network will play a major role in 5G and edge deployment and how Intel’s hardware and software portfolio fit into a larger network transformation. Last summer, I wrote about why RAN transformation is happening in stages, and in the fall, I explained how industry standardization plays an important role in driving these changes.
While network transformation began at the core, the next major innovation target is the edge. We have engaged with the industry to define the technology that scales through all types of RAN implementations and deployments. In a January 2020 report, Dell’Oro Group forecasts nearly 6 million new 5G base stations through 2024, so now is the time to seize the growing opportunity in the RAN.
Intel Atom® P5900
We’ve been collaborating with the world’s 5G leaders to design the first standard, high-volume silicon for radio access networks and today we’re proud to announce the 10nm Intel Atom® P5900 processor. It is designed from the ground up for 5G wireless base stations and brings Intel® architecture to this market for the first time. Our customers have responded, and we expect Nokia, along with other leading providers, to deliver solutions based on the platform. We’re also excited to report that Intel now expects to be the #1 silicon provider in base stations by 2021, a ye ar earlier than first predicted.
The Intel Atom P5900 delivers key requirements for 5G base stations today and in the future: highly efficient compute, ultra-low latency, accelerated throughput, and precise load balancing in a highly integrated SOC. The processors also include Intel Ethernet 800 series technology enabling throughput of up to 100Gbps.
Intel Atom P5900 was optimized to deliver outstanding performance per watt for key workloads at the base station and was designed for 5G’s high-bandwidth and low-latency, combining compute, 100Gbps connectivity and acceleration into a single SOC. It delivers a performance punch with 5.6X packet security throughput and up to 3.7X more balanced packet throughput vs. using software alone. Plus, with Intel architecture consistent from core to edge, customers can realize software re-use throughout the network reducing their time-to-market and investments in research and development.
Building the 5G RAN Platform
We’re not stopping with the baseband processor. Intel has been collaborating with the industry to design and deliver the broadest silicon portfolio for 5G network infrastructure to meet a wide range of business needs. For example, the new Intel Atom P5900 processors can be paired with an ASIC for specific base station workloads.
Communication services providers (CommSPs) have many options for architecting their RAN infrastructure for a diverse range of 5G and edge services. With these new products in our portfolio, Intel is now offering a common processor architecture across network deployment targets, and for any type of RAN implementation.
Software is critical to the success of 5G RAN deployments. FlexRAN, Intel’s software reference architecture, is another way for CommSPs to accelerate their development if they choose to implement virtualized RAN. Over 80 companies worldwide are now licensing FlexRAN solutions, which support 4G and 5G connectivity. The next FlexRAN release will support multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) for multipath propagation and ultra-reliable low-latency communication (URLLC) to push further innovations.
Intel is delivering an unmatched portfolio of solutions to support the range of RAN options. We have deep relationships across the industry to collaborate, innovate, and integrate on a variety of architecture ingredients, including front haul gateways, off-the-shelf server technology, cloud-native OS platforms, software stacks and hardware components. We’re providing the fastest and most effective path to design, deliver and deploy 5G solutions for network infrastructure, from the core to the edge.
If you’re interested in hearing more of my thoughts on network transformation, listen to this recent interview on the Chip Chat podcast and connect with me on LinkedIn, where I’ll continue to share bold predictions about Intel’s RAN market leadership and the future of 5G.
Notices & Disclaimers
Software and workloads used in performance tests may have been optimized for performance only on Intel microprocessors. Performance tests, such as SYSmark and MobileMark, are measured using specific computer systems, components, software, operations and functions. Any change to any of those factors may cause the results to vary. You should consult other information and performance tests to assist you in fully evaluating your contemplated purchases, including the performance of that product when combined with other products. For more complete information visit www.intel.com/benchmarks.
Performance results are based on testing as of dates shown in configurations and may not reflect all publicly available security updates. See backup for configuration details. No product or component can be absolutely secure.
Intel technologies’ features and benefits depend on system configuration and may require enabled hardware, software or service activation. Performance varies depending on system configuration. Check with your system manufacturer or retailer or learn more at www.intel.com.
Results have been estimated or simulated using internal Intel analysis or architecture simulation or modeling and provided to you for informational purposes. Any differences in your system hardware, software or configuration may affect your actual performance.
Optimization Notice: Intel's compilers may or may not optimize to the same degree for non-Intel microprocessors for optimizations that are not unique to Intel microprocessors. These optimizations include SSE2, SSE3, and SSSE3 instruction sets and other optimizations. Intel does not guarantee the availability, functionality, or effectiveness of any optimization on microprocessors not manufactured by Intel. Microprocessor-dependent optimizations in this product are intended for use with Intel microprocessors. Certain optimizations not specific to Intel microarchitecture are reserved for Intel microprocessors. Please refer to the applicable product User and Reference Guides for more information regarding the specific instruction sets covered by this notice. Notice Revision #20110804.
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© 2020 Intel Corporation.
 Source: Mobile RAN Five Year Forecast Report 2020 – 2024, Dell’Oro Group, 01/2020
 Tested by Intel on 1/27/2020, 1x Intel Atom® P5952B processor (Running under A-3 Eng Silicon 20C, 2.2GHz) on Intel internal Frost Creek platform, 16GB DDR4 2933MHz, OS: Ubuntu 18.04 with Kernel: 5.2.10-rt5, BIOS: JBVLCRB1.86B.0011.D44.1909191126, uCode: 0x90010006, Benchmark: DPDK IPSec (using Intel® QAT) (1420B packet size) (1C/1T/1P) (Estimated), Software: DPDK 19.05, Compiler: GCC 7.3.0 with MKL, Network: Onboard 100GbE NIC compared to 1x Intel Atom® P5952B processor (Running under A-3 Eng Silicon 20C, 2.2GHz) on Intel internal Frost Creek platform, 16GB DDR4 2933MHz, OS: Ubuntu 18.04 with Kernel: 5.2.10-rt5, BIOS: JBVLCRB1.86B.0011.D44.1909191126, uCode: 0x90010006, Benchmark: DPDK IPSec (using software cipher algorithm AES-128-CBC) (1420B packet size) (1C/1T/1P) (Estimated), Software: DPDK 19.05, Compiler: GCC 7.3.0 with MKL, Network: Onboard 100GbE NIC.
 Tested by Intel on 1/27/2020, 1x Intel Atom® P5952B processor (Running under A-3 Eng Silicon 20C, 2.2GHz) on Intel internal Victoria Canyon platform, 16GB DDR4 2933MHz ,OS: Ubuntu 18.04 with Kernel: 5.2.10-rt5, BIOS: JBVLCRB1.86B.0012.D17.1911070324, uCode: 0x90040006, Benchmark: DPDK Event Device Ordered Scheduling (3 stages) (Estimated), Software: RDK19.11, Compiler: GCC 7.3.0 with MKL, Network: 1x Intel® Ethernet Network Adapter X710-DA4 (10GbE) compared to 1x Intel Atom® P5952B processor (Running under A-3 Eng Silicon 20C, 2.2GHz) on Intel internal Victoria Canyon platform, 16GB DDR4 2933MHz, OS: Ubuntu 18.04 with Kernel: 5.2.10-rt5, BIOS: JBVLCRB1.86B.0012.D17.1911070324, uCode: 0x90040006, Benchmark: DPDK Event Device Ordered Scheduling (3 stages) (Estimated), Software: RDK19.11, Compiler: GCC 7.3.0 with MKL, Network: 1x Intel® Ethernet Network Adapter X710-DA4 (10GbE).