Intel partners with Nokia and Ericsson on 5G worldwide

Working on 5G deployments across the globe, both networking giants Nokia and Ericsson have selected Intel to back up their solutions for mobile telecommunications carriers.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Intel has revealed that its technology will be used by both Nokia and Ericsson in the first series of 5G deployments globally.

"Intel is powering the first wave of 5G networks," Intel SVP of 5G and Network Platform Group Sandra Rivera announced during the Intel 5G Summit in Los Angeles on Tuesday morning.

"Starting with our 5G New Radio modems, we're building a portfolio of capabilities that lend an additional foundation to the hundreds of millions of modem devices that we have shipped to the market for 4G networks."

Nokia VP of Networks Marketing and Communications Phil Twist told ZDNet that there have been three main areas of collaboration between Intel and Nokia: Its AirFrame, AirScale, and ReefShark products.

"On the technical aspect, we're looking at the AirFrame platform that Nokia has, which is the basis for our cloud core infrastructure, the edge cloud ... the second area we were talking about is the AirScale, which is our radio access family; it's the same family that we use for 2G, 3G, 4G, and now 5G so it's like a multi-radio access technology," Twist told ZDNet during the 5G Summit.

"We have developed with Intel's support on the manufacturing side the system on a chip chipsets that go into that, because you need to develop these things with silicon rather than components in order to reach the power consumption levels, and that ReefShark chipset family is one that they've been heavily involved with."

Lastly, Intel enabled Nokia to undertake trials with customers by opening up its 5G Mobile Trial Platform, Twist said.

"5G is not just a radio ... it also needs the back end behind it, it needs this distributed core architecture, it needs the programmable transport, it needs the intelligent network fabric, it needs security, it needs the management and network orchestration, and actually it becomes so complicated that you do have AI-enabled management and controllable system to keep it working," Twist explained.

According to Ericsson head of networks portfolio management, Product Area Networks Jawad Manssour, Intel and Ericsson have collaborated on 5G for carriers across the globe, including T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone Group, BT, Telia, Swisscom, Telefonica, Lifecell, Etisalat, MTN, Turkcell, Ooredoo, Orange, China Mobile, China Unicom, SoftBank, NTT DoCoMo, KDDI, Chungwa Telecom, Far EasTone, and Telstra.

"We've been collaborating for quite a few years since the early 2000s, and for 5G we've been collaborating since four years back," Manssour said.

"It's a really comprehensive collaboration, so it started by ... predicting how the standards would look like, and this enabled us to start very early on to develop systems for trial activities."

One such collaboration was during the Winter Olympic Games earlier this year.

Rivera told ZDNet that with so many different use cases across carriers globally, having a programmable and scalable network infrastructure now means providing more than just faster speeds, also requiring intelligence, analytics, and automation.

"Intel's always associated with Xeons, or with PCs, and we're so much beyond that, whether we're in smartphones or whether we are now in the base stations," Intel VP of Technology, Systems Architecture, and Client Group, and GM of Next Generation and Standards Asha Keddy told ZDNet in an interview.

"So when you think of Ericsson and when you think of Nokia, there's Intel stuff in what they're deploying."

Disclosure: Corinne Reichert travelled to the Intel 5G Summit and Mobile World Congress Americas in Los Angeles as a guest of Intel

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