Samsung and Intel are claiming a major breakthrough in the data processing capacity of 5G Stand Alone (SA) cores. The companies say they achieved 305 Gbps per server and latency capacity in a commercial network set-up.
The advance was achieved using software optimization on Intel’s second-generation Xeon 8280 Scalable processor, as well as the chip company’s E810 Ethernet Adapter, which includes enhanced dynamic device personalization (DPP) functions. These are said to simplify data processing, which typically needs a complex path using multiple cores, including packet distribution, transmission and processing cores.
Samsung notes that the industry has already posted a taste of what improvements can be achieved through the introduction of 5G NR (New Radio) — in non-standalone network configurations. But it stresses that to fully unleash the potential of 5G, and thus support and enable the new and exciting use cases being readied, the entire network will need to be upgraded to 5G Stand Alone. Those use cases include ultra reliable low latency communications (URLCC), fixed wireless access, and industrial control.
That will necessitate the entire 4G network infrastructure being upgraded to a new service based architecture (SBA).
Commenting on the improved packet processing and network performance achieved, Sohyong Chong, the senior VP and head of core software R&D networks business at Samsung Electronics, said the company’s cloud-native 5G SA core, “through its highly flexible and scalable design will enable our customers to launch 5G services more swiftly and cost-effectively.”
Last month Samsung said it has been working with South Korea’s leading operator, KT, to deploy its control and user plane separation (CPUS) solution in networks as a means of commercializing 5G SA core in combination with the non-standalone modes. This common core can combine both modes, as well as 4G, a set-up that the companies suggest greatly eases transition to Stand Alone 5G.
Samsung believes its advances with 5G SA will help it gain a faster and bigger impact in the mainstream 5G roll-outs globally, and, notably, help in replacing Huawei in territories where the Chinese company is no longer allowed to supply its core infrastructure gear due to security concerns.
The company’s biggest drawback is its lack of installed legacy infrastructure — save in its home territory — for supporting previous 3GPP generations of cellular on the same platform. But earlier this year, Thomas Riedel, head of Europe for Samsung Networks, indicated he saw a mood change amongst some European operators who are willing to drop the “one vendor per site” requirement and shifting, albeit gradually, to a 5G overlay approach.
The key here, from a technical point of view, would be the X2 Interface, which supports hardware between 4G gear from one supplier and 5G equipment from another. Though standardized by the 3GPP, few established carriers have implement X2 so far, but it could be a solution for greenfield carriers.
The German dilemma
Still with 5G, last week, Germany became the latest European country to take a stronger line on network security, with a new IT law proposed that would make it significantly more difficult for companies such as Chinese groups Huawei and ZTE to participate in the market.
However, unlike other countries such as the UK, Sweden and of course the US, the German cabinet has stayed shy of actually banning any supplier from the 5G market. The proposed law would mandate much more stringent checks on suppliers’ equipment as to any potential cyber security attacks, and will also include new regulations prohibiting the use of critical components that are subject to certification. Suppliers of such components will need to assure the regulatory authorities and the operators ahead of time that these parts are trustworthy and won’t be used for the purposes of sabotage or espionage.
Again, not as tough a stance as that taken by some countries, but a major step by a government that has been under significant political pressures from, notably, the US.
The more diplomatic and circumspect approach will be welcome by German operators, notably Deutsche Telekom, which has a significant level of infrastructure from Huawei in its networks, and has been looking seriously at the Chinese group’s 5G gear for the core network.
The proposals also means the country’s operators are unlikely to be forced into the very expensive and time consuming business of ripping out existing infrastructure, as has been mandated in the UK.
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