Telefonica is an umbrella company behind many operators in the Americas, China, and all over Europe. The company is active under Movistar, China Unicom limited, O2 UK, O2 Germany, and Vivo Brazil subsidiaries, to name just a few. So instead of looking at this as a single win, this is a global design win.
Telefonica is truly disrupting the market by embracing open standards and aligning with Xilinx and other technology leaders to make this happen. The result is that it will enable rich, wireless services available sooner than anticipated throughout Europe. The first deployments of 4G and 5G networks will take place this year in the UK, Germany, Spain, and Brazil.
Telefonica first major 5G carrier for Xilinx
Telefonica is the first major carrier that Xilinx is announcing as a 5G customer.
Xilinx joins Altiostar, Gigatera Communications, and SuperMicro, among others, in working with Telefónica on the design and development, integration efforts, operational procedures, and testing activities required to build next-generation wireless radio networks using O-RAN.
The new O-RAN approach represents a significant paradigm shift in network technology. O-RAN is supported by the global O-RAN Alliance, of which Xilinx is a member. With O-RAN, baseband hardware utilizes standard servers, the interfaces between the network equipment are open and standardized, and the baseband software runs in the cloud.
This open architecture increases flexibility for service providers, enabling them to accelerate the development of 5G networks. Anything that can speed up 5G network development is highly welcome in the early days of 5G.
Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC is adaptable
In the initial Telefónica implementation, Xilinx’s Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC will be used in the 4G and 5G radio. Xilinx’s breakthrough RFSoC integrates the front end of the RF signal chain, enabling users to dramatically increase performance and board density while greatly reducing power consumption.
Xilinx technology supports multiple standards, multiple bands, and sub-networks, providing Telefónica with a unique and flexible platform for radio, front haul, and acceleration to support 4G and 5G networks. Xilinx is known for its flexibility, and the Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC based devices can seamlessly be upgraded with a simple remote software update as standards evolve. That is making the adaptable devices ideal for foremost industry transformations such as this one.
3GPP - a standardization body behind the 5G standard - is changing the specs of the 5G as we speak. Carriers are currently implementing Release 15 standard while the next generation Release 16 is expected to freeze development in the early part of 2020. We suggest there will be Release 17 coming between 2021/22. Xilinx’s RFSoC makes the upgrades on the FPGA / software level much more comfortable than physically changing the servers and boards at the data centers or antennas. At the same time, using Xilinx’s adaptable and upgradeable hardware and software is more cost-effective too.
Telefónica and Xilinx invest in the future
Telefónica and Xilinx, as well as other O-RAN partners, enable carriers to deploy new services now and into the future. It also delivers greater interoperability across systems and reduces OpEx. Xilinx adaptive computing technology allows customers to future-proof infrastructure investments by enabling seamless, modular upgrades at different areas of the network for enhanced reliability and sustained long-term value that benefits everyone.
Open, standardized solutions built on collaboration – like this one through the O-RAN Alliance and led by Telefonica – will benefit the entire ecosystem, ultimately accelerating 4G and 5G deployments across providers and around the world. Xilinx is committed to open-source solutions and architectures because these standards, shared models mean that innovation can happen faster and be adopted by more customers.
The announcement is Xilinx’s first of many 5G partnership announcements with more to come. Remember, 5G and the whole telecom industry must be adaptable, and that is in theXilinx DNA.