Intel busts out networking gear, software pre-MWC

Intel wants to remind the world that it leads as a provider of networking hardware and software, with 20% growth in that segment to $6 billion in 2020 over the prior year. 

Among thousands of other products, the chip giant makes network-related CPUs, accelerators, Ethernet adapters, memory, software toolkits and blueprints. It started a decade ago working on such elements to provide a foundation for 5G, said Dan Rodriguez, general manager of the network platforms group for Intel. The company claims its edge technology is already deployed in 35,000 customer locations.

Rodriguez and other top managers at Intel shared the company’s networking and 5G prowess in a pre-MWC virtual event on Monday that includes a survey of 511 IT decision makers. (MWC starts June 28.) 

The survey shows, not surprisingly, that nearly 80% of the managers said that 5G is crucial to keeping pace with innovation and will have an impact on their businesses.

The next frontier in networking will be virtualized radio access network tools delivered through an open system.  While vRAN is still in early days, “nearly all commercial vRAN deployments are running on Intel,” Rodriguez said in a blog.

Among a number of announcements Intel touted in the networking space is Intel Smart Edge commercial software for on-premise uses such as private networks and universal customer premise equipment. Also, Intel announced an open-source toolkit called Smart Edge Open for developers building edge platforms.  

Intel named Cellnex Telecom in Barcelona, the site of MWC, as a Smart Edge Open customer with support from Intel, Lenovo and Nearby Computing. Cellnex will be able to act faster on data and provide service-level management. The Cellnex system will be extended to other markets using the same blueprint developed with Intel and Nearby Computing.

Intel also said Monday it is working with carriers Reliance Jio, DISH Wireless and Deutsche Telekom to implement Intel architecture. On Friday, Intel announced it teamed with EXOR Iational, TIM and JMA Wireless for a smart factory in Verona, Italy, that relies on Intel chips and software to take advantage of 5G and AI technologies. EXOR, an industrial PC and HMI manufacturer, worked with local service provider TIM to provide the 5G spectrum in the sub 6 GHz and 26 GHz bands.  A portion of the smart factory will be used by other companies to prove Industry 4.0 wireless applications.

Also, Intel’s FGPA family known as Agilex is expanding to include cryptography acceleration for MACSec in 5G applications. Intel in 2019 claimed its Agilex FGPA on a 10nm node delivers twice the fabric performance per watt when compared with 7 nm FPGAs on the market. Agilex came out of Intel’s purchase of Altera in in 2015 for nearly $17  billion.

Its Ethernet 800 series is growing as well to include a Synchronous Ethernet-capable Ethernet Network Adapter for tight spaces at the edge.  It will work well in 4G and 5G RAN and latency-sensitive setting such as financial, industrial and energy, Intel said.

intel ethernet adapter



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