Globally, enterprises are driving the demand for high-speed, low-latency 5G networks, and this demand is expected to increase exponentially during this decade of hyperconnectivity. Allied Market Research recently published a report suggesting the global industrial 5G market generated $12.47 billion in 2020, and it will generate $140.88 billion by 2030. While the research firm suggests high-implementation costs continue to hold the market back to some degree, the development of smart 5G infrastructure is contributing to the growth and opportunity for 5G during the 2020s and beyond.

New analysis from Grand View Research suggests the global 5G infrastructure market, which includes the RAN (radio access network), core network, and backhaul and transport network, will grow drastically at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 49.8% between 2021 and 2028. Grand View expects growth to occur thanks to increasing demand for 5G infrastructure in industries like healthcare, as well as VR/AR (virtual reality/augmented reality), and manufacturing, among other sectors.

Intel is one company working toward a 5G future as a leading network silicon provider. At this year’s MWC (Mobile World Congress), Intel announced additions to its 5G and edge product portfolios, including an expansion of its Agilex FPGA family and its Ethernet 800 Series family. The company also recently announced a collaboration with Airtel, a communications solutions provider in India, to drive and accelerate network development of 4G and 5G vRAN (virtualized RAN) and open RAN technology. Together, Intel and Airtel say they will evolve communications networks from fixed-function equipment to virtualized cloud-native deployments, enabling edge-to-cloud communications and unlocking all the opportunities that come with it for Airtel customers, which include more than 345 million subscribers.

As a result of the collaboration, a smattering of Intel technologies will power Airtel’s network, including third-generation Xeon Scalable processors, FPGAs, and eASICs, Ethernet 800 series, and Intel’s FlexRAN—a reference architecture with both software and hardware components. These technologies will help Airtel in its mission to bring world-class 5G services to India. In fact, the company’s partnership with Intel is part of a bigger picture at Airtel—a 5G roadmap it has laid out for India that aims to enable Industry 4.0 and other applications, services, and experiences for enterprises, industries, and consumers alike.

Both Intel and Airtel are part of the O-RAN Alliance, a worldwide community of stakeholders in the RAN industry. The alliance’s goal is to move toward more intelligent, open, virtualized, and interoperable mobile networks. By working with local partners in India, the companies say they will be developing 5G solutions that enable world-class telecom infrastructure and contribute to the nation becoming a global hub for 5G. With the second-largest internet population at more than 620 million users, India presents a huge opportunity for 5G adoption and innovation. With Intel’s help, Airtel will be able to build on its existing momentum (Airtel is already conducting 5G trials in major Indian cities like Mumbai) to unlock the potential of 5G in one of the most populous nations in the world.

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