New Intel Processors Accelerate 5G Network Transformation

Intel today launched its newest 3rd Gen Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor (code-named “Ice Lake”), including new network-optimized “N-SKUs” along with verified solution blueprints that accelerate time to market.



What’s New: Intel today launched its newest 3rd Gen Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor (code-named “Ice Lake”), including new network-optimized “N-SKUs” along with verified solution blueprints that accelerate time to market. New “N-SKUs” deliver an average 62% more performance1 on a range of broadly deployed 5G and network workloads over the prior generation. Intel also announced it has started sampling next-generation Intel® Xeon® D processors designed for space and power-constrained environments at the edge.

“We are further unleashing the capabilities of 5G and the power of the intelligent edge with our latest network-optimized 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors. Designed to support diverse network environments, our newest 3rd Gen processors and platform ingredients enable global communications service providers to deliver the next breakthrough in network innovation for even richer consumer and enterprise use cases.”
–Dan Rodriguez, Intel corporate vice president and general manager, Network Platforms Group

Why They Matter: With the buildout of 5G and the rise of the intelligent edge, network infrastructure and technology need to evolve. As the leading provider of network silicon, Intel delivers the most complete set of network technologies to transform the network, and fosters the broadest, most proven ecosystem so customers have more choices and can accelerate time to deployment.

About 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable Processors: The new network-optimized SKUs are the ideal choice for wireless core, wireless access, network edge workloads and security appliances. They are available in a range of cores, frequency, features and power to deliver lower latency, higher throughput and deterministic performance for service provider network transformation requirements.

Security is important for 5G networks, and Intel® Software Guard Extensions integrated into the 3rd Gen Xeon processors enable secure channel setup and communication between the 5G control functions. Built-in crypto acceleration can reduce the performance impact of full data encryption and increase the performance of encryption-intensive workloads.

How They Pair With Other Platform Ingredients: 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors can be paired with Intel’s suite of platform ingredients and software — including Intel® FPGAs, Intel® Ethernet 800 series adapters, Intel® Optane™ persistent memory, FlexRAN, OpenNESS, Open Visual Cloud and Intel® Smart Edge — to bring the processor performance to life and help customers achieve the right total cost of ownership.

Agilex 10 nanometer (nm) FPGAs, which are now shipping and achieve nearly twice the performance per watt over competing 7nm devices, are being used in wireless core and access segments to provide infrastructure acceleration capabilities and other valuable features to complement core and access workloads running on Intel Xeon Scalable processors.

What Network-Optimized SKUs Enable: A flexible infrastructure is paramount as customers must keep pace with the ever-growing need for data. Network-optimized 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors are designed to support diverse operator network environments, and optimized for multiple workloads, for example:

  • 5G wireless core: With 3rd gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors, Intel has demonstrated that communications service providers can increase 5G UPF performance by up to 42%1. Combined with Intel Ethernet 800 series adapters, they can deliver the performance, efficiency and trust for use cases that require low latency, including augmented reality, cloud-based gaming, discrete automation and even robotic-aided surgery.
    • ​Rakuten Mobile Inc. (Rakuten Mobile): Rakuten Mobile is working with Intel to leverage new features available in 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors for its next-generation mobile cloud platform server, which will support various workloads in central and regional data centers.
    • SK Telecom: Now with the 3rd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor paired with Ethernet adapters and optimized NFV solutions, SK Telecom can accelerate deployment of the latest technologies in the core and throughout the 5G network. This will result in its subscribers enjoying stable 5G service quality.

  • vRAN: As operators virtualize the Radio Access Network (vRAN) for agility, they are relying on 5G massive multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) to increase capacity and throughput. With Intel’s newest Intel Xeon processors, Intel Ethernet 800 series adapters and Intel vRAN dedicated accelerators, customers can double massive MIMO throughput in a similar power envelope for a best-in-class 3x100MHz 64T64R vRAN configuration.1
    • Verizon: Verizon has been on the leading edge of virtualizing their entire network, including the RAN. Intel Xeon processors deliver processing requirements to support Verizon’s end-to-end virtualization goals, and the advancements in the silicon provide higher capacity and efficiency for vRAN.
    • Vodafone: Vodafone depends on the most advanced technologies and partnerships to build an agile and flexible mobile network, as they bring Open RAN to commercial reality. Intel has been a long-standing partner to Vodafone, bringing a diverse and innovative ecosystem. The newest 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors are a good example of the high-performance technology that can be leveraged as Vodafone works on 5G massive MIMO workflows for Open RAN development.

  • CDN:. With Intel 3rd Gen Xeon Scalable processors and the latest Intel Optane persistent memory, customers can get up to 1.63 times higher throughput and 33% more memory capacity, enabling them to serve the same number of subscribers at higher resolution or a greater number of subscribers at the same resolution.1
    • AT&T: AT&T has been working with Intel as a strategic technology collaborator since 2016 to deliver a scalable, standards-based infrastructure to address the increased demand for live, high definition content. With the combination of Intel 3rd Gen Xeon Scalable processors performance and power savings with Intel Optane Persistent Memory, AT&T can expand CDN capacity with fewer nodes, providing significant savings in total cost of ownership.

About Intel® Select Solutions: Intel announced updates to its network workload-optimized solutions for vRAN, Visual Cloud Deliver Network and NFVI Forwarding Platform, which offer pre-tested and verified configurations that accelerate development time and simplify infrastructure deployment. These solutions were developed with various software partners, including Red Hat, VMware and Wind River. Intel is also working with a number of Intel Network Builders ecosystem partners to verify their offerings for these solutions, including: ASUS, Advantech, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Intequus, Inventec, Lanner Electronics, Lenovo, Nexcom, QCT, Supermicro and ZT Systems.

About Next Generation Intel Xeon D Processors: Code-named “Ice Lake-D,” these processors are designed to support denser, size-constrained and ruggedized designs at the edge. Intel is now sampling these processors and working with customers and partners including Cisco for networking products, Supermicro for FlexRAN-based vRAN solutions and Rakuten Mobile for next-generation RAN products to serve higher capacity needs.

The Small Print:
Notices & Disclaimers

1Performance varies by use, configuration and other factors. See [91] at

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