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Intel and China Mobile virtualise base stations

IDF Beijing Intel says base stations will reside in the datacentre
Wed Apr 11 2012, 10:31

CHIPMAKER Intel is using its Intel Development Forum (IDF) in Beijing to focus on everything except PCs. Of special interest is embedded use of x86 processors.

Intel has previously shown technology demonstrations of the virtual base station, but today during Sean Maloney’s keynote at IDF is the first time that Intel has publicly announced a development partner for the effort, China Mobile. This is hardly surprising, considering that the research effort is being undertaken by Intel's research lab in Beijing.

Traditional base stations include a digital component and radio technology, which are both placed out in the open. With virtualisation Intel plans to move the digital hardware back to the datacentre and leave only the radio close to the antennae.

There are definite advantages to this concept. First of all it is cheap to run the base station on a standard server. Second it delivers high reliability. When you run several base stations in a virtual environment on a single server in a datacentre it is easy to substitute a different server if a hardware error occurs. No need to call out technicians, just switch to a different server and continue processing.

According to the head of Intel research in China, Jessie Fang, China is ideal for testing virtual base stations.

"In other countries we would have to deploy the base stations for a whole city in order to test it properly. Here in China we can just do it in a single university with 100,000 students and get the same effect," Jessie Fang told The INQUIRER.

Much of Sean Maloney’s IDF keynote was aimed squarely at Chinese developers, but some of it, like the virtual base station, also applies to the rest of the world. µ


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