AMD drops new radio chips and opens telecoms testing lab

Chip maker AMD has launched some new 4G/5G RFSoC digital front-end devices and created a ‘Telco Solutions’ testing lab with VIAVI, as its purchase of Xilinx last year brings it into closer orbit of the telco industry.

Andrew Wooden

February 23, 2023

3 Min Read
AMD Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC

Chip maker AMD has launched some new 4G/5G RFSoC digital front-end devices and created a ‘Telco Solutions’ testing lab with VIAVI, as its purchase of Xilinx last year brings it into closer orbit of the telco industry.

The new RFSoCs (Radio Frequency System-on-chip) are called the Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC ZU63DR and Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC ZU64DR, and are designed for deployment of 4G/5G radios into ‘markets around the globe where lower cost, power and spectrum-efficient radios are required to address increased wireless connectivity’ – which the firm later clarifies as meaning emerging markets.

In terms of the specifications, we’re told the Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC ZU63DR targets four transmit and four receive (4T4R) and dual band entry-level O-RAN radio unit applications, and the Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC ZU64DR is targeted for eight transmit and eight receive (8T8R) O-RU applications using the 3rd Generation Partner Project (3GPP) split-8 option.

Both devices are expected to be in full production by Q2 this year, and will be one of the things AMD is showing of at MWC next week.

“AMD has made incredible progress in the radio market and is proud to be showcasing at MWC Barcelona our collaboration with over 15 radio system ecosystem partners designing O-RAN-based remote radio units for open interfaces using AMD Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoCs and MPSoCs,” said Salil Raje, senior vice president and general manager, Adaptive and Embedded Computing Group, AMD. “With our focus toward increasing 5G deployments around the world, the new AMD Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoCs are especially cost-effective and energy-efficient, making them ideal for emerging global markets including rural and outdoor deployments.”

Meanwhile it has announced its Telco Solutions testing lab, designed for operators to ‘test, validate and scale computing resources’ for playing with RAN and edge-to-core set-ups. It’s working with VIAVI to incorporate its testing suite in order to ‘analyse, develop and validate the impact of real-life conditions across an entire telco network.’

Due to open the beginning of Q2, the lab engage in such things as traffic simulation and generation across core, CU/DU, edge and RAN using current and future AMD technologies, and will be based in Santa Clara, California.

As a third leg to its pre-MWC announcements, we’re told AMD AMD and Nokia have entered into an ‘expanded collaboration’ using 4th Gen AMD EPYC processor-based servers, as part of Nokia’s Cloud RAN offering.

“As part of our ambition to provide the best Cloud RAN solutions, we are excited to extend our collaboration with AMD,” said Pasi Toivanen, Head of Partner Cloud RAN Solutions at Nokia. “We are looking to take advantage of the 4th Gen AMD EPYC processor’s capabilities to further enhance Nokia’s Cloud RAN solutions. Communication service providers across 5G Core and Cloud RAN increasingly demand new levels of performance and energy efficiency within their 5G networks. Our work with AMD recognizes the challenges faced by the telecommunications industry and helps to deliver on our partners’ and customers’ most ambitious energy efficiency targets.”

In what it describes as the largest ever merger in the sector, AMD acquired fellow semiconductor player Xilinx in February last year for around $50 billion. Xilinx invented the FPGA (field-programmable gate array) chip which is supposed to have specialised potential in 5G installations, and launched the Zynq RFSoC DFE radio platform, designed for 5G NR applications.

AMD has historically mainly produced CPUs for PCS and servers, but the incorporation of all this has brought it into closer orbit of the telco industry – and it seems set to be leaning into that with some key industry collaborations due to feature at its stand at MWC next week.


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About the Author(s)

Andrew Wooden

Andrew joins on the back of an extensive career in tech journalism and content strategy.

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