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Nokia Partners With Intel on 5G Infrastructure Silicon

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Nokia today announced its collaboration with Intel on 5G infrastructure silicon, including working together on Intel's recently announced Atom P5900 processor (formerly Snow Ridge). Nokia will also adopt Cascade Lake in its cloud data center solution for a common architecture "from cloud to edge."

Intel announced its portfolio of silicon for 5G New Radio network infrastructure early last week (it originally planned to announce this at Mobile World Congress). It introduced the Atom P5900 series as its first x86 SoCs for base stations. Nokia, ZTE and Ericsson were said to be adopters, and Intel claimed it was on track for 40% market share by 2021 already.

Intel's SoC is included in Nokia's AirScale radio access products, which are now shipping. AirScale is part of Nokia's Powered by ReefShark line-up. 

“By adopting ReefShark widely in its AirScale portfolio, Nokia is significantly boosting performance and lowering the energy footprint of 5G network rollouts," Nokia said in a statement. 

Nokia said the new ReefShark chipsets improve performance and have a reduced energy footprint. They have previously been rumored to leverage Intel Custom Foundry’s 10nm process technology, but Nokia did not specify the process technology. It is unclear how committed Intel still is to its foundry business after its 10nm delays and whether this affected adoption of its foundry business.

Additionally, Nokia said it will continue to adopt the latest, second-generation Xeon Scalable processors in its AirFrame cloud data center solution. Nokia did not clarify if this refers to the Cascade Lake refresh that Intel also announced last week, but said that this realized the benefits of a common (Intel) architecture from cloud to edge. Nokia also uses Xeons for its AirScale vRAN and 5G core solutions.

Dan Rodriguez, Corporate Vice President and General Manager of Intel’s Network Platforms Group, said: “Implementing technology innovations from the core to the edge of the network is key to unlocking the full potential of 5G. Through our collaboration with Nokia, our broad portfolio of products and ASIC capabilities, we are showing the value that can be realized with a consistent, high-performance architecture across the intelligent 5G network.”