How Altiostar is Working with Intel for High Performance Open vRAN 5G Networks

One of the great benefits of Open vRAN is the ecosystem of vendors where each player brings new innovation to the solution. As a pioneer in Open vRAN, we work with a number of partners who provide a positive contribution to the development of open and virtualized mobile networks for operators.  One way in which an Open vRAN architecture drives down capital and operational costs is through using commercial off the shelf (COTS) hardware from technology providers such as Intel.

Achieving Leaders Board status in the Intel Network Builders partner ecosystem, Altiostar works closely with Intel on network transformation and welcomes today’s announcement of the Intel vRAN Dedicated Accelerator ACC100. Open RAN deployments require low power, cost and latency, and also need the capacity to manage spikes in performance for a range of use cases.  This is where the ACC100 shines by offloading and accelerating the computing-intensive process of forward error correction (FEC).

Altiostar Open vRAN software leverages the O-RAN supported BBDev API which allows for FEC acceleration on either Intel FPGA PAC N3000, the Intel vRAN dedicated accelerator ACC100 or in software-only mode. Mobile operators benefit from an architecture that has high availability, ultra-low latency and ease of maintenance.

Why is FEC important?

Three service scenarios have been defined for the 5G networks:

  • Enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB)
  • Ultra-reliable and low latency communications (URLLC)
  • Massive machine type communications (mMTC)

These scenarios result in massive packet flows with a need for latency and reliability. FEC’s role is to correct transmission errors, where certain bits in a message can be lost or garbled – usually by noise in the transmission media, interference, or low signal strength – rendering the message unreadable by the receiving router. Without FEC, a garbled message would have to be resent, adding to the network load and impacting both throughput and latency.

For 4G networks the FEC mechanism is Turbo coding; for 5G network it is low-density parity check (LDPC). Both are channel coding mechanisms that add parity bits to the message. These bits are redundant information that enables the receiving station to detect and fix bits that are corrupted during transmission. Adding and decoding this channel coding at 4G and 5G speeds is where the ACC100 is needed.

Additionally, field programmable gate arrays (FPGA) cards can also be used to offer programmable acceleration to do both FEC (Turbo or LDPC) and fronthaul (FH) in order to provide flexibility in the workload. Such flexibility provides benefits to customer to build a more agile and scalable networks and at the same time enjoy faster time to market to capture emerging applications and standards happening in 5G. We’ve had success in several networks utilizing the Intel FPGA Programmable Acceleration Card (Intel FPGA PAC) N3000 to provide application acceleration for heavy data loads. In addition to the existing N3000 solution, Intel’s newest accelerator – the ACC100 that is based on Intel eASIC technology – offers the dedicated acceleration with low cost, low power and latency FEC (Turbo & LDPC) and increases performance and capacity as needed for 5G massive MIMO deployments. The ACC100 provides a path to customers to improved total cost of ownership (TCO) in their networks.

Altiostar welcomes the advanced performance that the ACC100 delivers. Working with our carrier partners, we’ve proven that Open vRAN-based networks can deliver high performance 4G services. We’ve done this using Intel architecture servers in both the densest cities and in rural areas. In both environments, Open vRAN has delivered innovative and cost-effective solutions.  

Delivering high performance FEC is critical to 5G maintaining high performance as it matures and as more users depend on the network. The Intel vRAN Dedicated Accelerator ACC100 and Intel FPGA PAC N3000 based acceleration solutions demonstrate that Open vRAN solutions running on Intel-based servers can meet and exceed the power and performance requirements of present and future mobile networks. We welcome this innovation from Intel and are glad to partner with the company. Learn More: www.intel.com/n3000vran

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Jason King
Jason King Director of Marketing