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Virtualisation upgrades for next-gen 5G in the works

Posted: 16 Sep 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:5G? wireless networks? China Mobile Research Institute? Xilinx?

A new partnership will expand technologies in order to bring the next-generation 5G systems to reality. Xilinx recently announced that it is collaborating with China Mobile Research Institute (CMRI) to develop virtualised 5G wireless networks to address challenges faced by wireless operators.

According to CMRI general manager Bill Huang, the firm is currently working on large scale antenna systems and cloud RAN virtualisation (C-RAN) technologies, but they will need programmable platforms with a new level of flexibility and scalability to put these technologies to work.

Last week, CMRI inked a three-year agreement with U.S.-based FPGA vendor Altera to develop base stations for C-RAN mobile network infrastructure. C-RAN is developed by China Mobile and it supports 2G, 3G, 4G and other future standards for wireless communications. (Read the story here: Deal seeks greener future for C-RAN mobile networking)

Presently, subscribers at the edge of cells often experience poor service quality due to interference. 5G base stations will employ a large number of antennas to minimise the overall interference and improve both the user experience and network efficiency. Additionally, 5G wireless networks will include multiple radio access technologies that must coexist. As a result, network function virtualisation (NFV) becomes a requirement for 5G, with hardware being abstracted and resources allocated dynamically for the required wireless functions.

This is where Xilinx comes in.

The company's innovations in partial reconfiguration (PR) allow equipment designers to create designs that can be altered in-system without interrupting the equipment operation. For example, new air interface waveforms can be switched in and out at speed to provide a cost effective alternative to building support for all air interface standards, saving power, cost and increasing system performance.

"5G wireless network systems will be extremely complex, requiring tremendous signal processing power and high speed connectivity, and the realisation of hardware virtualisation. This can only be enabled through innovations in silicon, software and IP," said Sunil Kar, vice president of Wireless Communications at Xilinx.





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