The cancellation of Mobile World Congress hasn’t stopped Intel from making some pretty big noise this week. Perhaps the biggest news is how Intel is trying to react to the need for network edge solutions, base station computing, and 5G. And, when it comes to 5G, it seems like almost everything Intel is doing lately is preparing for 5G.
In a press conference, Intel made it very clear it wants to take the lead in the 5G revolution. Intel is finding that many of the new services enabled by 5G are requiring a redistribution of where data is processed, often bringing it closer to the edge. Intel has built its product portfolio with the goal of moving data faster, storing more data, and processing all of it. And it’s hoping this portfolio will help it address the unique requirements of 5G. Frankly, this decision by Intel is only good news for every customer on the planet.
Here’s a quick look at some of the news. The first new announcement is the Atom P5900 platform. Intel is launching this new product in its Atom lineup that uses its 10 nanometer SoC (system-on-a-chip) manufacturing process.
The processor was designed from the ground up to meet the needs of radio access networks, and it marks a huge step in Intel’s journey to transform the network. Intel says it designed the Atom 5900 for 5G high bandwidth and low-latency requirements, combining compute connectivity and acceleration technologies into a single SoC package to meet customer needs.
The new processor will give customers what they need for 5G base stations today and into the future.
I find it interesting though, that the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company had no significant market segment share in wireless base stations as recently as 2015. But now, Intel is internally forecasting it will be a leader in base station silicon by 2021. Intel unveiled the 2nd Gen Xeon scalable processors that have led the transformation of virtualized networks.
Perhaps even more exciting, the company introduced what it is calling Diamond Mesa. Diamond Mesa is the codename for Intel’s next generation structured ASIC 5G acceleration. Intel is saying Diamond Mesa, which is now open for early access customers, can deliver twice as much performance or up to 50% less power than previous iterations from Intel. There will be different deployment options, including VRAN (virtual radio access networks).
It’s pretty impressive that Intel is coming out and saying that it able to personalize the RAM, which is an essential step toward the 5G future, and it will enable all sorts of new services at the edge.
The other product that Intel mentioned was the introduction of the Intel Ethernet 700 Series Network Adapters with Hardware-Enhanced-Precision Time Protocol. This was designed specifically for 5G and other use cases that have tight latency and timing requirements. This is such an important addition to Intel’s portfolio. It’s a powerful solution for latency-sensitive applications in sectors like financial services, industrial, and beyond.
All of this talk about latency and 5G and edge, it’s more than just lip service. If we really look at the next generation of IoT (Internet of Things) applications, they’re going to need the ability to react fast, and that’s really fast. There are some applications that will only work if latency is reduced to next to nothing. In some cases, human safety will be at risk if we don’t get it right.
We can’t unlock these types of use cases, broadly speaking, until we have the networks in place that can deliver the lowest possible latency. This is what we’re working toward as an industry, and I think Intel is helping us get there.
Intel’s also making some significant investments in things like its edge strategy, including AI (artificial intelligence) at the edge, and it’s continuously investing in open-source software. It’s investing in various kits, for instance, that can help customers reduce complexity and get to market more quickly. Intel recognizes 5G is here and it is helping customers not only prepare, but it is proving how it wants to lead the way.
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