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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?

How is Arm Neoverse Revolutionizing the Infrastructure Market?

Arm Neoverse Platforms are uniquely designed to cater to the vast infrastructure market. They stand out as the only platform offering genuine design flexibility, enabling Arm partners to optimize their System on Chips (SoCs) for workload-specific applications. These applications are shaping the modern, AI-enabled infrastructure.

With performance per watt ratio is 2 to 3.5 times1 greater than traditional processors, Arm Neoverse empowers operators and ecosystem partners to deploy 5G with reduced power consumption, increased throughput, and significant Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) benefits. The latest generation of Neoverse platforms, announced recently, promises to further accelerate these advantages. We eagerly anticipate their adoption as the foundation for even more innovative solutions from our partner ecosystem.

Today, leading operators and the wider wireless infrastructure industry are reaping the benefits of Arm. The Arm 5G ecosystem is stronger than ever, offering mature solutions and platforms. These range from hardware, including industry-leading server Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), Layer 1(L1), accelerators, and small cells, to software that encompasses virtual Radio Access Network (vRAN) stacks, popular operating systems, Operational Support Systems (OSS), Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), container orchestration platforms, and more. Let’s look at some examples:

What Makes Arm’s Ecosystem Unique in Transforming 5G Networks? 

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).

How is Arm Neoverse Impacting Public Cloud Infrastructure?

Arm’s Neoverse-powered instances are now available in all major public cloud providers, offering operators significant cost savings and performance gains when deploying virtualized workloads on cloud platforms. This has been made possible due to the scalability and elasticity of public cloud infrastructure, which enhances the resiliency and reliability of networks.

  • In a bid to foster a diverse vendor environment for Cloud RAN solutions, Arm has been collaborating with Ericsson. This partnership leverages a unified software codebase across various platforms, facilitated by the baseband device (BBDEV) interface for hardware accelerator integration. The adoption of a consistent codebase not only simplifies development but also lowers maintenance efforts and expedites updates across platforms.
  • Arm is also working with Nokia and AWS on a Cloud RAN for AI continuum. For instance, Nokia’s vRAN is deployed on AWS Graviton3 instances, ensuring scalability and operational simplicity. The solution also incorporates on-demand observability using generative AI, which guarantees the detection of errors and network events.
  • NTT DOCOMO and NEC have managed to reduce power consumption for their 5G SA Core by an average of 72% using Arm Neoverse powered AWS Graviton2 instances. These results pave the way for the future realization of a hybrid cloud environment for telecommunication networks, enabling mobile operators to provide enhanced disaster-resilient networks to their customers.

Forging Alliances to Fuel AI Innovation in Networks

We believe Artificial Intelligence (AI) holds immense potential to optimize Radio Access Network (RAN) 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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