CommSPs are building the bridge to 5G in stages, beginning with virtualization of the core network and extending the cloud closer to the network edge. The current processing and throughput performance of 4G LTE mobile core networks will be sufficient to support early-stage 5G services, like fixed wireless access and enhanced mobile broadband.
The next wave of 5G services for manufacturing, autonomous driving, virtual and augmented reality, IoT and AI will result in an estimated 4.1 billion cellular IoT connections by 2024 . Imagine the volumes of data that must be stored, moved and processed – from the enterprise edge and RAN to the mobile core. CommSPs will need at least 200 Gbps processing performance in the mobile core to handle these data-hungry 5G services.
Reaching 200 Gbps Performance in Mobile Core
Today at Mobile World Congress 2019, Intel is demonstrating 200 Gbps speeds created by a Spirent* traffic generator through an ASTRI* 5G User Plane Function (UPF) on a standard off the shelf server blade, using Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors.
While this standard server can be deployed in a core network location, the flexibility of the Intel architecture also supports the performance, power, and thermal requirements in the network edge. This common architecture approach to hardware and software across the network gives network architects and engineers the flexibility to provision new services and virtual network functions (VNFs) across the network and extend the platform to support other VNFs as demand shifts. This means it will be possible to scale to multi-terabit configurations in the core network and share common infrastructure and software with distributed locations.
Intel will release a performance paper that details how such world-class speeds are achieved later this year. Live 5G core trials are expected to start later this year with deployments happening in 2020 and 2021.
The latest MWC demo continues Intel’s years-long commitment to supporting network transformation. Last year, Affirmed Networks* virtualized evolved packet core (vEPC) solution tests were able to show a line rate performance of 150 Gbps and SK Telecom demonstrated a virtualized EPC for the mobile packet core with 200 Gbps throughput.
5G was designed from the beginning to operate in an SDN/NFV cloud-native world, where the network functions are composable and available on demand, wherever needed in the network. Intel architecture gives carriers the ability to make cost-effective upgrades across different parts of the network with a flexible foundation to scale when the times comes. With a growing range of products, from Intel® Optane™ DC Persistent Memory to Intel® Silicon Photonics and Intel® Select Solutions, Intel will keep innovating with leading partners to deliver technology that advances the industry and enables the new 5G world.
If you are attending MWC in Barcelona, I invite you to join us at the Intel booth (3E31) to see the mobile core demonstration for yourself. You will also experience the industrial IoT, smart retail, media and visual cloud services, among many others, that will drive demand for greater throughput performance across the network, cloud and edge.
For more information about Intel’s investment in network transformation, visit the Network Builders website. You can search for Intel Chip Chat podcast interviews and videos from Barcelona with representatives from ASTRI and me.