& cplSiteName &

Intel Working With NEC, AT&T on NFV

Brian Santo
8/17/2016
50%
50%

Intel announced separate collaborative projects with two enormous 5G partners, one with AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) that involves packet processing optimization, announced today, and the other with NEC Corp. (Tokyo: 6701) on cloud radio access networks (C-RAN), announced yesterday. Both collaborations are all about network function virtualization (NFV).

Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) missed out on 3G and 4G wireless, and it is determined that it will not be left behind in 5G. Well ahead of the formalization of any standards that might be considered 5G, Intel has been beavering away building working prototypes of wireless devices that will provide the performance that many communications companies want 5G systems to provide. Intel has been showing these devices at forums such as Mobile World Congress, and has them installed in trials with companies such as China Mobile Communications Corp. , AT&T and Verizon.

Lynn Comp, senior director of market development in Intel's Network Platforms Group, told Light Reading that service providers have been coming to Intel looking for help achieving NFV. Specifically, they're looking to replace dedicated telecoms equipment with Intel-based white boxes running virtualized network functions (VNFs).


Want to know more about communications ICs? Check out our comms chips channel
here on Light Reading.


In NEC's case, the VNF is a C-RAN. Wireless base stations rely on both a central unit (CU) that processes data and on distributed units (DU) that send and receive radio signals. NEC's NFV C-RAN solution is enabled by software on running on the Intel Architecture that functions as the CU. The CU controls multiple DU on a centralized basis, making it possible to flexibly control radio wave output from the DU in line with data volumes, NEC explained.

By transferring selected data processing functions from the CU to DU, the NFV C-RAN solution also enables tolerance levels for communications delays between CU and DU to be relaxed. This enables Ethernet to be used as the interface between the CU and DU instead of the conventional Common Public Radio Interface (CPRI). As a result, the volume of data exchanged between the CU and DU can be reduced to less than one-tenth, compared to existing C-RAN architecture. By maintaining the same level of performance, even if connecting the CU and DU via lower capacity networks, this will enable communications carriers to develop the high-performance networks they need for 5G while keeping capital investment to a minimum, NEC continued.

"The notion is that the cloud will be everywhere," Comp said, "and if you put cloud on the edge, latency performance gets better."

AT&T is looking at NFV too, but before it gets to white boxes, it is examining a specific performance characteristic at the chip level. AT&T and Intel are exploring how to optimize Intel's Broadwell multi-core processors for packet processing.

Carrier-grade communications networks require the absolute minimum of jitter, which is to say, packet delay (and worse yet, variations in packet delay). Jitter isn't much of a problem in most general purpose computing applications, and so designers of general-purpose CPUs (such as Intel) generally don't focus on it. But if communications companies want to rely more on white boxes in their networks -- and they do -- it's in their best interest to help reduce jitter in the CPUs around which those boxes will be built. And if Intel wants its CPUs to be used in communications equipment -- and it does -- it has to learn to control jitter.

Comp said the collaboration with AT&T gets into everything from how Intel's multi-core processors cache data to details about instruction sets.

— Brian Santo, Senior Editor, Components, T&M, Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
msilbey
50%
50%
msilbey,
User Rank: Blogger
8/17/2016 | 3:12:20 PM
"The cloud will be everywhere"
I love that quote. And yes, this seems to be one of the big things 5G will enable - lots of diffferent clouds connected locally by high-speed wireless networks.
From The Founder
Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Interviews
BT's McRae Sheds Light on 4K Strategy

5|25|17   |   4:45   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's Big Communications Event 2017 in Austin, Texas, BT Group's Chief Network Architect Neil McRae talks about what it took for BT to broadcast live sports in 4K. Catch up with all our BCE coverage at http://www.lightreading.com/bce.asp.
From the Founder
How the NIA Aims to Advance NFV

5|25|17   |   08:07   |   (0) comments


Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
LRTV Custom TV
Better Solutions That Address Growing Scale

5|25|17   |     |   (0) comments


For Comcast, the X1 rollout and 17-fold increases in broadband speeds in the past 16 years are among factors driving the need for Energy 2020 solutions that reduce cost and consumption, says Mark Hess.
LRTV Custom TV
Ethernity Network Delivers Instant Offloading of Network Functions With All-Programmable Intelligent NIC

5|25|17   |     |   (0) comments


David Levi, CEO of Ethernity Networks, explains that programmability of the hardware makes the company's All-Programmable Intelligent NIC uniquely beneficial for communications service providers that need advanced data appliances with agile support of virtualization. Utilizing the company's patented network processing technology, Ethernity offers data path ...
LRTV Documentaries
BCE 2017: Vodafone Gets Obsessed With Cloud-Native

5|25|17   |     |   (0) comments


Vodafone's Matt Beal updates us on Project Ocean and explains why simple virtualization isn't enough of a goal for network transformation. Catch up with other BCE 2017 keynotes and news at http://www.lightreading.com/bce.asp.
LRTV Documentaries
BCE 2017: Intel's Take on Network Transformation

5|24|17   |     |   (0) comments


In this BCE 2017 keynote, Lynn Comp discusses Intel's vision for areas such as analytics, automation and service assurance. For more videos and BCE coverage, see http://www.lightreading.com/bce.asp.
LRTV Documentaries
Order From Chaos: The Steve Saunders BCE Keynote

5|24|17   |   17:27   |   (0) comments


Kicking off BCE 2017, Light Reading founder Steve Saunders lays blame for NFV's slow ramp-up and urges telecom to return to old-fashioned standards building and interoperability testing.
Think of this as the video sequel to the recent columns he's written about NFV and the prospect of a telecom app store. (See

LRTV Documentaries
Service Provider Panel: Partnering in the Digital Era

5|22|17   |     |   (0) comments


Coopetition has always been part of telecom, but the ecosphere now includes data centers, vendors, apps developers, cloud service providers and Internet content providers. This BCE 2017 panel explores the new attitudes among network operators as to the value and variety of ...
LRTV Interviews
Site Demo: AT&T's IoT Flow Platform

5|19|17   |   04:25   |   (0) comments


At AT&T's R&D center in Tel Aviv, Israel, project leader Eyal Segev talks about the operator's Flow platform and how it helps to prototype IoT applications.
LRTV Documentaries
Agent of Change: A Q&A With AT&T's John Donovan

5|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


Carol Wilson talks with the man leading AT&T's transformation efforts about the challenge of change.
LRTV Documentaries
BCE Service Provider Panel: The New Business Realities

5|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


For virtualization to happen, the telecom industry first has to grapple with key functional aspects of SDN and NFV that need to be universal, such as onboarding of virtualized network functions and federation of software-defined networks.
LRTV Interviews
BCE Service Provider Keynote: CenturyLink

5|16|17   |   22:32   |   (0) comments


Aamir Hussain leads the Product Development and Technology organization at CenturyLink, which includes the company's information technology function. He is an experienced senior technology executive with more than 25 years of proven success in the implementation of global technology operations, operationalization of complex technology, infrastructures and business ...
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Cities Clamor for More Clout at FCC
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/23/2017
What's Blocking 4K TV Today
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 5/22/2017
Sonus & Genband Finally Combine to Form $745M Company
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/23/2017
Fright Wigs & Cocktails: BCE 2017 in Pics
Mitch Wagner, Editor, Enterprise Cloud, 5/19/2017
Apple Looking to Cook 5G Test Devices
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/24/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
Animals with Phones
What Brogrammers Look Like to the Rest of Us Click Here
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.