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Sustainable Network Infrastructure: Optimizing Efficiency, Fueling AI Innovation

Arm Neoverse Leading the Charge in AI Infrastructure Evolution
By Panch Chandrasekaran, Director, 5G Carrier Infrastructure, Arm
cloud infrastructure

The telecommunications industry is undergoing a radical shift. Network operators face escalating costs to maintain and upgrade aging infrastructure on flat revenues while simultaneously planning to build next-generation 6G networks. Meanwhile, the rise of AI applications demands ever-increasing compute power and data bandwidth. This puts operators in a precarious position: how can they build sustainable networks at scale while unlocking the potential of AI for efficiency and revenue generation?

Arm Neoverse – The Future of AI Infrastructure

Arm Neoverse platforms are designed to target the breadth of the infrastructure market. And it is the only platform that offers real design flexibility for Arm partners to optimize their SoCs to deliver workload-specific optimization for the use cases that are defining the modern AI-enabled infrastructure. With more than 2x-3.5xmore performance per watt than traditional processors, Arm Neoverse helps operators and ecosystem partners roll out 5G with reduced power, greater throughput, and critical TCO benefits. The latest generation of Neoverse platforms announced last week will accelerate these gains further and we look forward to seeing them as the foundation of even more innovative solutions from our partner ecosystem.

Leading operators and the broader wireless infrastructure industry are realizing the benefits of Arm today, and I’ve written about these extensively in my previous posts on networks and cloudification of 5G. Today, the Arm 5G ecosystem is stronger than ever. It offers mature solutions and platforms ranging from hardware that includes industry leading server OEMs, L1 accelerators, small cells to software that includes virtual RAN (vRAN) stacks, popular operating systems, OSS, ISVs, container orchestration platforms, and more. Let’s look at some examples:

Arm in the Telco Cloud 

Arm’s thriving ecosystem of server OEMs, network accelerators, operating systems, and software vendors collaborate to develop innovative 5G solutions that deliver high performance, and power-efficient, cost-effective 5G networks. 

  • Vodafone announced plans to fast-track the development of new platforms for Open RAN using the Arm architecture running Fujitsu open vRAN solution. The goal is to meet growing customer demand for faster, greener mobile connectivity. 
  • NTT DOCOMO is supporting its overseas telecom operators in implementing Open RAN and expanding its OREX packages with Arm-based, power-efficient Open RAN chipsets from Ampere paired with tier 1 software from NEC and Fujitsu. This drives greater supplier diversity and allows operators to address a larger base of customers.
  • Nokia, Arm and HPE worked together to deliver an end-to-end Cloud RAN L3 data call. This demonstrated the flexibility of Nokia’s Cloud RAN solution using an in-line accelerator architecture that works seamlessly on multiple silicon architectures. It validates Nokia’s anyRAN approach which ensures the feature performance consistency of Cloud RAN with purpose-built RAN while enabling more choice for operators to build Cloud RAN networks.
  • NEC, Arm, Red Hat, and Qualcomm  worked together to showcase an end-to-end operation of NEC’s open vRAN and 5G Core virtual User Plane Function (UPF) products. These use a Qualcomm X100 5G RAN Accelerator Card and Arm Neoverse-based CPUs running Red Hat OpenShift in a commercially equivalent environment. This collaboration led to an integrated and demonstrable solution that is optimized for TCO and power efficiency for both edge and data centers.
  • Parallel Wireless unveiled the world’s first hardware-agnostic 5G Open RAN solution. Funded by  UK’s Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology (DSIT/DCMS), the solution was a collaboration that included Arm, BT Group, NXP Semiconductors, Real Wireless, and the University of Bristol. This marks a significant development in the evolution of 5G Open RAN technology. 
  • SynaXG unveiled a virtual distributed unit (vDU) solution that is fully commercialized to set a new benchmark in O-RAN network innovation, performance and power efficiency. Based on a high-performance, ultra-low-power Arm Neoverse based SoC, the vDU card with carrier-grade Layer 1 software will be on display at SynaXG booth at Mobile World Congress (MWC) Barcelona, starting today (Monday Feb. 26).

Arm in the Public Cloud

Many operators already leverage the scalability and elasticity of public cloud infrastructure to improve resiliency and reliability of their networks. With Arm Neoverse-powered instances available in all major public cloud providers, operators can now tap into significant cost savings and performance gains when they deploy virtualized workloads on cloud platforms.

  • Arm has been collaborating with Ericsson to foster a diverse vendor environment for Cloud RAN solutions. This collaboration uses a unified software codebase across various platforms, facilitated by the baseband device (BBDEV) interface for hardware accelerator integration. Adopting a consistent codebase simplifies development, lowers maintenance efforts, and expedites updates across platforms. Discover more about the shared vision at the Ericsson booth at MWC, starting today.
  • Arm is collaborating with Nokia and AWS on a Cloud RAN for AI continuum, where Nokia’s vRAN is deployed on AWS Graviton3 instances for scalability and operational simplicity. The solution also leverages on-demand observability using generative AI that ensures detection of errors and network events. This demo can be viewed live at MWC at the Arm booth starting today.
  • NTT DOCOMO and NEC greatly reduced power consumption for their 5G SA Core by an average of 72% when using Arm Neoverse powered AWS Graviton2 instances. These results support the future realization of a hybrid cloud environment for telecommunication networks, which enables mobile operators to provide enhanced disaster-resilient networks to their customers.

Forging Alliances to Fuel AI Innovation in Networks

We believe AI holds immense potential to optimize RAN network efficiency and unlock new revenue streams. To this end, we collaborate with industry leaders across the entire technology landscape – from silicon manufacturers and cloud providers to operators and universities – to develop AI-powered solutions for next-generation networks. Today, we are proud to join the AI-RAN Alliance, a new initiative aimed at integrating AI into cellular technology to further advance RAN technology and mobile networks.

Arm doesn’t just offer technology; we are building a future where sustainable mobile networks fuel the growth of AI and deliver unparalleled user experiences. With our partners, we are committed to unlocking the full potential of this transformative technology for a brighter, more connected tomorrow.

1 Note: Based on Arm internal benchmarks and vendor published benchmarks. Compared against traditional architectures.

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