Intel is announcing new platforms, solutions and services spanning network and edge AI, Intel Core Ultra processors and the AI PC, and more at MWC 2024.

Across today’s announcements, Intel is focused on empowering the industry to further modernise and monetise 5G, edge and enterprise infrastructures and investments, and to take advantage of bringing AI Everywhere.

“Intel is delivering innovations for our partners and their customers across network, edge and enterprises to modernise their networks, monetize new services at the edge, and bring artificial intelligence (AI) everywhere,” says Sachin Katti, senior vice-president and GM of the Network and Edge Group at Intel.

“Intel’s network- and edge-optimised SOC strategy uniquely integrates general purpose compute and acceleration for networking, AI and vRAN workloads, and we are announcing market-leading next generation products for 5G core with Sierra Forest and 5G vRAN with Granite Rapids-D.”

Announced last year, 4th Gen Intel Xeon processors with Intel vRAN Boost (code-named Sapphire Rapids EE) deliver up to twice the capacity3 for virtual radio access network (vRAN) workloads compared with the previous generation.

The capacity increase allows operators to double their number of cell sites or subscribers while providing an additional 20% reduction in vRAN compute power consumption by removing the need for external acceleration to reduce system complexity and costs.

Further extending its vRAN leadership, while driving down vRAN costs and power consumption and delivering it at a global scale, Intel announced its future Xeon processor Granite Rapids-D, featuring the latest generation of P-cores. This future processor will deliver significant gains in performance and power efficiency utilising improved Intel AVX for vRAN and integrated Intel vRAN Boost acceleration alongside other architectural and feature enhancements.

Silicon is currently sampling. Samsung has demonstrated a first-call at their research and development lab in Suwon, South Korea. Ericsson has also demonstrated a first-call validation in the Ericsson-Intel joint lab in Santa Clara.

Intel is also working with Dell Technologies, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Lenovo, Mavenir, Red Hat, Wind River and other ecosystem partners to ensure market readiness.

Granite Rapids-D is planned to launch in 2025, following the launch of Granite Rapids server CPUs in 2024.

AI will play a pivotal role in helping operators optimise the performance, efficiency and intelligent management of resources in the evolving vRAN environment.

To help operators and developers build, train, optimise and deploy AI models for vRAN use cases on general purpose servers in their existing network footprint, Intel is introducing early availability of the Intel vRAN AI Development Kit to select partners.

Built on Intel AI-optimised libraries, frameworks and tools, the optimised AI models in the development kit, when combined with 4th Gen Intel Xeon processors’ built-in AI acceleration, power management and enhanced telemetry capabilities, offers potential for operators to reconfigure their network dynamically to conceivably save costs, extract more value from infrastructure and support new revenue streams.

Intel is working with AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, SK Telecom and Vodafone to showcase the benefits AI can bring to the RAN.

For operators, the company today previewed its next-gen Intel Xeon processor Sierra Forest that will launch later this year to expand Intel’s CPU roadmap by offering up to 288 Efficient-cores (E-cores) on a single chip.

It is well-suited for 5G core workloads to advance network core performance and power savings. By utilising Intel’s latest E-core technology, operators will recognize greater energy and cost savings, driving to a 2,7x performance per rack improvement and industry-leading performance per rack for 5G core workloads.

Operators and ecosystem partners – including BT Group, Dell Technologies, Ericsson, HPE, KDDI, Lenovo, and SK Telecom – are also showing interest in this ground-breaking next-gen platform, which is optimized for high performance per watt, core density and throughput.

Intel has announced broad availability and industry adoption for the Intel(r) Infrastructure Power Manager software for 5G core, with Casa Systems, NEC, Nokia, and Samsung planning to deliver in 2024.

Intel Infrastructure Power Manager enables operators to take advantage of the built-in telemetry of Intel Xeon processors to reduce CPU power by an average of 30% while maintaining key telco performance metrics6. Multiple operators are exploring lab trials for delivering carbon offset and TCO savings.

Intel’s Edge Platform has unique capabilities, including support for heterogeneous components for lower TCO and zero-touch, policy-based management of infrastructure and applications, and AI across a fleet of edge nodes with a single pane of glass.

Additionally, AI runtime with OpenVINO inference is built-in to enable real-time AI inferencing optimisation and dynamic workload placement within the infrastructure software for application deployment.

As an evolution of the solution first introduced at Intel Innovation 2023 under the code-name Project Strata, Intel’s Edge Platform will be generally available later this quarter, with some partners and end users already taking advantage of its offerings.

In support of Intel’s Edge Platform, Intel is working across the ecosystem and with industry leaders such as Amazon Web Services, Lenovo, L&T Technology Services, SAP, Red Hat, Vericast, Verizon Business and Wipro.