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Marvell Industry Analyst Day 2021: New AtlasOne Chip Readies 5G RAN Optical Fronthaul for 5G Ecosystem
by Ron Westfall and Michael Diamond | December 9, 2021

The News: Marvell announced the company’s 50Gbps PAM4 DSP and TIA chipset solution for 5G fronthaul, targeted at improving performance for integrated radio access networks (RAN), as well as Open (O-RAN) and virtualized (vRAN) architectures. To meet growing 5G capacity demands, carriers are seeking fronthaul solutions that scale beyond 25G. The Marvell AtlasOne chipset, optimized for performance improvement and up to 25% lower power consumption, is part of Marvell’s electro-optics portfolio aimed at easing vRAN and O-RAN adoption. Read the Marvell Press Release here.

Marvell Industry Analyst Day 2021: New AtlasOne Chip Readies 5G RAN Optical Fronthaul for 5G Ecosystem

Analyst Take: Marvell is ready to expand the company’s 5G ecosystem-wide influence with the launch of the AtlasOne 50Gbps PAM4 DSP and TIA chipset offering. With O-RAN and vRAN adoption gaining momentum, AtlasOne is well-suited to fulfill emerging mobile operator fronthaul bandwidth requirements, especially the demand for concurrent 50G capacity. Moreover, mobile operators are committed to upgrading radio capacity with wider bandwidths, including up to 200 MHz, and implementing massive MIMO capabilities with up to 64 transmit and receive antennas per Radio Unit (RU).

I see mobile operators prioritizing vRAN and Open RAN architectures to make competitive gains over traditional RAN technology. These advantages include replacing proprietary hardware through the disaggregation of the RAN architecture by using open interfaces and a mobile ecosystem that is more supportive of enabling operators to attain consistent choice in their selection of suppliers, avoid vendor lock-in, reduce network and operational silos, as well as potentially decrease overall capital expenditures (CapEx) and operational expenditures (OpEx). Moreover, vRAN enables operator to broaden their hybrid and multi-cloud capabilities and use a platform-centric approach by deploying RAN network functions on hybrid platform that consists of common-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware and open-source software.

I expect that Marvell’s AtlasOne technology can play a pivotal role in supporting mobile operator vRAN objectives that advance cloud automation, especially in assuring the monitoring of critical performance metrics, workload distribution, and predictive maintenance. Through network functions technology, operators can support higher device and cell density counts, particularly in relation to traditional physical network functions.

With vRAN, baseband capacity instances can be aggregated in a Distributed Unit (DU) and dynamically shared among multiple radio units. When satisfactory fronthaul and radio bandwidths are provisioned, mobile operators can flexibly shift capacity toward unanticipated traffic spikes to augment network efficiency and user experience.

I also expect that the built-in features of the new AtlasOne chipset solution including Marvell’s companion IN5662 TIA which supports enhanced linearity while delivering exceptionally low power and noise as well as the company’s PAM4 digital core developed to optimize performance across an expanding range of applications, including especially 5G ones.

Key Takeaways on Marvell’s New AtlasOne 50G PAM4 DSP Chipset

With the launch of the new AtlasOne chipset, I believe we’ll see Marvell swiftly expand its overall influence with OEMs and the AtlasOne chipset strengthens the company’s overall RAN portfolio and 5G/LTE network performance proposition which includes Alaska Ethernet PHYs, Prestera switches, OCTEON Fusion RAN solution. By supporting 50 Gbps PAM4 link capabilities, Marvell doubles the bandwidth of existing 25 Gbps NRZ (non-return-to-zero) fronthaul links.

I anticipate that 50 Gbps PAM4 links will prove warranted for enabling mobile operators to accelerate their support of key applications such as ultra-reliable low latency communications, edge computing, enhanced mobile broadband, hybrid workforces, and fixed wireless access (FWA) across their 5G infrastructure builds.

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.

Other insights from Futurum Research:

Marvell Ups Its Cloud Data Center Game with $1.1 Billion Acquisition of Innovium

MWC 2021: Marvell OCTEON 10 DPU Launch Injects Innovation Boost to DPU Technology

Making Markets EP2: Matt Murphy, CEO of Marvell Technology | Q2 FY ’22

Image Credit: Wearable Technologies

About the Authors

Ron is an experienced research expert and analyst, with over 20 years of experience in the digital and IT transformation markets. He is a recognized authority at tracking the evolution of and identifying the key disruptive trends within the service enablement ecosystem, including software and services, infrastructure, 5G/IoT, AI/analytics, security, cloud computing, revenue management, and regulatory issues. Read Full Bio.

Michael Diamond is an industry analyst and foresight professional with 25 years of experience in the IT channel and market research industry. He is a route-to-market expert covering desktop and mobile devices, collaboration, contact center, ProAV, data center infrastructure, and cybersecurity. Prior to joining Futurum Research, Michael worked for The NPD Group as the sole industry analyst covering indirect channels, cybersecurity, SMB and vertical market trends, data center infrastructure (e.g., enterprise storage, servers, networking), ProAV and PCs. He has been quoted by media outlets such as Bloomberg, Kiplinger, TWICE, OPI (Office Products International), Apple World today, Dark Reading, Enterprise Storage Forum, Credit-Suisse, Footwear News, CRN (Computer Reseller News), Channel Futures and Into Tomorrow.  Michael has presented at myriad events including The Channel Company’s Xchange, The Global Technology Distribution Council’s summit, SMB TechFest and more.