MWC 2024: Intel Brings AI-Powered Solutions for Telecoms

At MWC 2024, Intel announced new platforms, solutions and services spanning network and edge AI, Intel Core Ultra processors and the AI PC, and more.
Intel 4th Gen Xeon Scalable ProcessorsIntel, as part of its AI Everywhere positioning, is focused on empowering the global telecom industry to modernize and monetize 5G, edge and enterprise infrastructures and investments.

Intel says it has been transforming network infrastructure from fixed-function to a software-defined platform and driving success at the edge with more than 90,000 real-world deployments.

“Intel is delivering innovations for partners and their customers across network, edge and enterprises to modernize their networks, monetize new services at the edge, and bring AI everywhere,” said Sachin Katti, senior vice president of the Network and Edge Group at Intel.

“Intel’s network- and edge-optimized SOC strategy integrates general purpose compute and acceleration for networking, AI and vRAN workloads, and we are announcing market-leading next generation products for 5G core with Sierra Forest and 5G vRAN with Granite Rapids-D,” Sachin Katti said.

4th Gen Intel Xeon processors with Intel vRAN Boost (code-named Sapphire Rapids EE) deliver up to twice the capacity for virtual radio access network (vRAN) workloads compared with the previous generation.

The capacity increase allows operators to double their number of cell sites or subscribers while providing an additional 20 percent reduction in vRAN compute power consumption by removing the need for external acceleration to reduce system complexity and costs, Intel said.

Intel also announced its Xeon processor Granite Rapids-D, featuring the latest generation of P-cores, driving down vRAN costs and power consumption. This processor will deliver gains in performance and power efficiency utilizing Intel AVX for vRAN and Intel vRAN Boost acceleration alongside other architectural and feature enhancements. Silicon is currently sampling.

Samsung has demonstrated a first-call at their research and development lab in Suwon, South Korea.

Ericsson has demonstrated a first-call validation in the Ericsson-Intel joint lab in Santa Clara, California.

Intel is also working with Dell Technologies, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Lenovo, Mavenir, Red Hat, Wind River and other leading partners to ensure market readiness. Granite Rapids-D is planned to launch in 2025, following the launch of Granite Rapids server CPUs in 2024.

Intel believes Artificial Intelligence will play a pivotal role in helping operators optimize the performance, efficiency and intelligent management of resources in vRAN. To help operators and developers build, train, optimize and deploy AI models for vRAN use cases on general purpose servers in their existing network footprint, Intel is introducing early availability of the Intel vRAN AI Development Kit to select partners.

The optimized AI models in the development kit, when combined with 4th Gen Intel Xeon processors’ built-in AI acceleration, power management and enhanced telemetry capabilities, offers potential for operators to reconfigure their network dynamically to conceivably save costs, extract more value from infrastructure and support new revenue streams.

Intel is working with AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, SK Telecom and Vodafone to showcase the benefits AI can bring to the RAN.

Intel architecture is the backbone of software-defined core networks, with most virtualized network servers running on Intel CPUs. As the primary choice for operators, equipment builders and software providers, Intel Xeon platforms have set the bar in commercial deployments for 5G core performance with superior TCO and comprehensive power management.

For operators, the company previewed its next-gen Intel Xeon processor Sierra Forest that will launch later this year to expand Intel’s CPU roadmap by offering up to 288 Efficient-cores (E-cores) on a single chip. It is well-suited for 5G core workloads to advance network core performance and power savings.

By utilizing Intel’s latest E-core technology, operators will recognize greater energy and cost savings, driving to a 2.7x performance per rack improvement1 and industry-leading performance per rack for 5G core workloads.

Operators and ecosystem partners – including BT Group, Dell Technologies, Ericsson, HPE, KDDI, Lenovo, and SK Telecom – are also showing interest in this platform, which is optimized for high performance per watt, core density and throughput.

For additional power savings and energy efficiency, Intel announced broad and industry adoption for the Intel Infrastructure Power Manager software for 5G core, with Casa Systems, NEC, Nokia, and Samsung planning to deliver in 2024.

Intel Infrastructure Power Manager enables operators to take advantage of the built-in telemetry of Intel Xeon processors to reduce CPU power by an average of 30 percent while maintaining key telco performance metrics6. Multiple operators are exploring lab trials for delivering carbon offset and TCO savings.

Intel also announced the Edge Platform. Intel is leveraging its installed base and expertise from more than 90,000 edge deployments with a footprint spanning more than 200 million processors sold in the past 10 years to help customers quickly and efficiently take advantage of the edge AI opportunity.

Intel’s Edge Platform will be available later this quarter, with some partners and end users already taking advantage of its offerings. Intel is working with industry leaders such as Amazon Web Services, Lenovo, L&T Technology Services, SAP, Red Hat, Vericast, Verizon Business and Wipro.

Intel’s Programmable Solutions Group (PSG) will launch two new radio macro and mMIMO Enablement Packages as well as Intel Precision Time Protocol Servo, which allows customers to implement any timing configuration based on the 1588 timing precision protocol to synchronize devices in the Radio Access Network.