The News: The market for 5G is skyrocketing and becoming intensely competitive — and with good reason. The primary objectives of the 5G value chain encompasses delivering a broad range of mobile and enterprise services that usher breakthrough innovative user experiences across a multitude of access platforms and multi-layer networks. 5G brings together compute and communication technologies to deliver entirely new experiences and services – fundamentally changing the way we think of computing and networks. 5G is spurring the next wave of network transformation that uses a disaggregated, flexible, virtualized architecture, where workloads are no longer location specific.
As the industry transitions to 5G, the network infrastructure opportunity represents significant growth potential for hardware and software over the next few years. In the 5G era, Intel’s ability to provide the quickest and most efficient path to design, deliver, and deploy 5G infrastructure across the core, edge, and access domains with deep industry partnerships across the value chain, as essential in solidifying its credentials as a strategic and trusted advisor for the full range of communications service providers (CoSPs) delivering 5G.
New Research: Intel’s Portfolio Key to Powering Ecosystem-wide 5G Innovation
Analyst Take: In our newest research report, “Intel: 5G Trailblazer Powering 5G Ecosystem-wide Innovation” done in partnership with Intel – we examined five major 5G technology areas, including network cloudification, 5G edge, 5G core, vRAN, and 5G ecosystem influence, that define a 5G supplier’s ability to power innovation across the global mobile ecosystem. Our goal was to understand why Intel is integral to enabling and advancing innovation across these essential 5G technology areas. The key takeaways included:
Cloudification is vital to 5G’s success. We identified Intel’s extensive portfolio, consisting of processor, acceleration, storage, connectivity, software assets, and wide-ranging cloud computing development expertise as well as 4G/LTE and 5G network transformation as vital to preparing CoSPs to fulfill their highest priority 5G business and technical objectives.
Intel’s portfolio is fueling core workload virtualization in 5G environments. Intel’s portfolio gives CoSPs the platform needed to deliver the processing and agility required to fulfill the massive data traffic scaling demands of burgeoning 5G services. Optimized for network-centric workloads, 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors bolster the performance of network functions virtualization (NFV) workloads. Implementing the UPF (User Plane Function) on Intel Architecture (IA) enables functions to be hosted across the cloud infrastructure or at the edge or core. In addition, resources can be elastically scaled to meet specific performance requirements. Moreover, Intel Architecture’s vast presence in 4G/LTE networks gives CoSPs the architectural and tool suite familiarity critical to assuring a smoother migration in their 5G network journeys.
Unparalleled 5G RAN ecosystem clout. CoSPs stand to benefit substantially by using Intel FlexRAN to build a cloud native, virtualized RAN based on Intel 3rd Gen Xeon Scalable processors, to ensure swifter deployment of new AI performance and analytics capabilities that fulfill customer and end user expectations of quality of experience. In addition, Intel’s comprehensive suite of feature-rich silicon, software, and tools, combined with its extensive experience in supporting CoSPs in their overall digital transformation objectives, enables swifter deployment of their vRAN, open RAN, and open 5G technologies.
Intel 5G Edge powerhouse. CoSPs are prioritizing the origination and diversification of new revenue sources to expand their addressable markets, particularly across the enterprise realm. We believe through Intel’s experience in network, cloud, enterprise, and IoT markets, CoSPs can systematically evolve their networks to fulfill the burgeoning IoT use cases across a diverse array of verticals.
Prime 5G ecosystem influence. Intel provides the pillar of ecosystem-wide stability and influence needed to ensure CoSP confidence in accelerating their 5G builds. Taken together, we believe Intel is best positioned to be the trusted advisor of CoSPs in executing their 5G blueprints in collaboration with its Intel Network Builders ecosystem partners.
Key additional considerations include supply chain reliability, AI (artificial intelligence) assimilation, and silicon-rooted security. Amidst the uncertainties of the silicon supply chains throughout the pandemic and post-pandemic periods, CoSPs are assigning top priority to supply chain stability. We rate Intel as best suited in meeting these fast-growing CoSP requirements as Intel’s fabs for integrated device manufacturing (IDM) are distributed across Arizona, Ireland, Israel, and Oregon.
With built-in AI capabilities in Intel Xeon Scalable processors, along with Intel’s investments in a range of industry standard AI software frameworks like Python and Tensor Flow, and tools like OpenVINO, CoSPs can integrate more network AI capabilities into their solutions to help their customers further protect investments, as well as optimize and improve network functions. To attain a continuously secure computing environment, CoSPs need to build on top of a root of trust that is established at the most fundamental system layer — silicon. From our perspective, Intel’s overall portfolio is architected to deliver advanced security, with integrated built-in, silicon-enabled security technologies that fortify protection of potential attack surfaces.
Key Takeaways on Intel Powering Ecosystem-wide 5G Innovation
At Mobile World Congress 2021, and related virtual events with partners and customers, Intel emphasized the company’s foundational role in cultivating 5G’s society-wide influence and use cases, building out the edge, and harnessing AI to unleash 5G innovation. Our research confirmed there is no doubt that in selecting trusted advisors, CoSPs must take a comprehensive approach in understanding the portfolio resources and industry influence essential to fulfilling their strategic 5G technical and business objectives. We see vast portfolio capabilities and extensive expertise across strategic 5G technology areas, such as network cloudification, 5G edge, 5G core, vRAN, and 5G ecosystem as warranting top priority consideration in operator selection of their trusted advisor.
Additionally, CoSPs must factor in supply chain dependability, security credentials, and AI readiness in evaluating the assets that underpin the supplier’s influence across the 5G ecosystem. We view the Intel 5G portfolio as an essential value proposition for creating breakthrough services and applications, providing the foundation for operators to select Intel as their key partner of choice in powering their 5G network journey.
Disclosure: Futurum Research is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.