Marvell brings semiconductors boosting open RAN for 5G vendors

Marvell Technology Group has rolled out a set of semiconductors aimed at 5G networking gear designed to let telecom carriers mix and match equipment more easily.
Marvell 5G Open RAN
In the past, mobile network equipment from makers such as Nokia, Ericsson and Huawei Technologies was largely proprietary, made up of custom chips and software and difficult to intermix.

But U.S. government restrictions that have crippled Huawei’s ability to source chips have sped the adoption of so-called open radio-access network technology, where any vendor can assemble industry-standard chips and software to create inter-operable 5G networking gear.

Japan’s Rakuten and U.S.-based DISH Network are both rolling out networks based on such gear, and chipmakers such as Qualcomm and Intel have announced chips for the segment, although Qualcomm’s offerings remain years away.

Marvell, for its part, has long been a supplier of chips for traditional networking gear makers such as Nokia and Samsung Electronics.

On Tuesday, the company released a series of chips designed for the newer style of open networks. In an interview, Raj Singh, executive vice president of Marvell’s processor business group, said those players are beginning to use the new technology.

Even though Marvell is a chip company, it has also developed software and even metalwork designs to provide a blueprint to make functional networking gear. John Schimpf, senior director of Marvell’s wireless group, said the goal was to give potential new entrants to the market “a starting point that is viable.”

Marvell said its new Prestera DX 7300 series Ethernet switches are designed to intelligently enable secure and efficient data movement throughout carrier access and metro networks.

Marvell said its open radio access network (open RAN) and virtualized radio access network (vRAN) platform solutions bring leading-edge DPU and connectivity technology to the emerging open RAN and vRAN markets.

Marvell’s OCTEON Fusion baseband processors, OCTEON multi-core DPUs and Prestera switches have enabled telecom original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to deploy radio networks worldwide.

Marvell’s advanced 4G/5G radio unit (RU) design supports high antenna counts and multi-gigabit per second throughput for both integrated RAN and Open RAN deployments.

“We wanted to minimize the amount of silicon required to deliver massive MIMO RU solutions capable of supporting 32T32R performance, along with beamforming and DFE functions,” Raj Singh, executive vice president and general manager of Marvell’s Processor Business Group, said.

“Together with Marvell, we are able to help the industry transition to 32T32R – or even higher capacity – radio units. We are allowing the operators to manage both their capital and operating expensesby providing differentiated radio architectures and algorithms,” Joe Barry, vice president of the Wireless Communications Business Unit at ADI, said.

5G massive MIMO RU solutions will incorporate ADI’s transceiver technology, including programmable digital front-end. Marvell is providing its baseband silicon, which offers beamforming and a lower L1 software supporting O-RAN split 7.2. Initial prototypes are expected in latter half of 2021.