Xilinx brings T1 Telco Accelerator Card for O-RAN in 5G networks

Xilinx announced the T1 Telco Accelerator Card for O-RAN distributed units (O-DUs) and virtual baseband units (vBBUs) in 5G networks.
Xilinx Telco Accelerator Card
The T1 card is the only multi-function PCIe form factor card which performs both O-RAN fronthaul protocols and layer 1 offload, Xilinx said.

Xilinx said the T1 card with its advanced offload capabilities provides a significant cut in the number of CPU cores required in a system. The T1 card also enables the O-DU to deliver greater 5G performance and services while reducing overall system power consumption and cost compared to competitive offerings.

The Xilinx T1 card announcement is a breakthrough and a milestone in the evolution of Open RAN, a market expected to be worth $37.5 billion in 2025 and approximately 22 percent of the total public network RAN market, Dimitris Mavrakis, senior research director at tech market advisory firm, ABI Research, said.

T1 serves as an accelerator for executing L1 radio functions, notably handling the traffic to and from multiple radio units. These functions are traditionally dealt with using specialized and closed hardware in legacy radio equipment.

However, in the open RAN environment, these functions will mainly be handled by open processing architectures augmented by dedicated accelerators. The plug-and-play ability of T1, using an industry-standard PCIe card form factor, together with a targeted design for handling complex, time-sensitive, and high-volume L1 functions of 5G radio will simplify the complexity of Open RAN equipment and accelerate its implementation across multiple deployment scenarios.

Xilinx the T1 card is a small form factor, single-slot card that can be plugged into standard x86 or non-x86 servers to achieve the real-time protocol processing performance required for 5G virtualized O-DU platforms.

It offloads line-rate and compute-intensive functions including: channel encoding/decoding using hardened LDPC and Turbo codecs, rate matching/de-matching, HARQ buffer management, and more, freeing the processor cores for running other services – the true promise of virtualization.

The T1 card simplifies 5G deployments by offering a turnkey solution through ecosystem partners that includes both O-RAN fronthaul and 5G NR layer 1 reference designs, as well as pre-validated software to enable operators, system integrators, and OEMs to get to market quickly.

The offloading of critical channel coding functions from the CPU to the T1 card delivers up to 45x encoding and 23x decoding throughput improvement relative to the same server without acceleration.

The T1 card enables the use of fewer CPU cores, driving down system cost and overall power consumption. Additionally, for O-RAN fronthaul termination, it can process multiple sectors of 5G NR 4TRX at 100 MHz OBW with its 50 Gbps of optical ports. The Fronthaul and L1 bandwidths are matched for optimal scalability; the more towers you want, the more cards you add to the server.

“The trend toward network virtualization and O-RAN has given us an opportunity with the Xilinx T1 Telco Accelerator Card to drive the next steps of disaggregation of standard networks, enabling our expansion into every corner of the 5G market,” said Dan Mansur, vice president of marketing, Wired and Wireless Group, Xilinx.

“As 5G infrastructure investments continue to grow to support new and higher bandwidth services, providing solutions that can offer greater system acceleration to meet growing scale and bandwidth requirements is critical,” said Daryl Schoolar, practice leader for Fixed and Mobile Infrastructure, OMDIA.

“We have worked with Xilinx on the development of its T1 Telco Accelerator Card,” said Saurav Gupta, vice president – sales (North America), VVDN.

“Open RAN is the new way forward in telecom with a diversity of companies and solutions which offers real innovation,” said Mikael Rylander, senior vice president & general manager of the Radio Access Business Unit, Mavenir.

“With Xilinx’s experience in the data accelerator market, we are excited to now see their expansion into 5G Telco accelerator cards,” said Pasi Toivonen, head of the Edge Computing Platform, Nokia.

Xilinx said the T1 card is available and sampling now to customers worldwide. Volume production is expected by the beginning of 2021.