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October 18th, 2021

Network Visibility of 5G Radio Access Networks, Part 1

By Gidi Navon, Senior Principal Architect, Marvell

The Radio Access Network (RAN) is dramatically changing with the introduction of 5G networks and this, in turn, is driving home the importance of network visibility. Visibility tools are essential for mobile network operators to guarantee the smooth operation of the network and for providing mission-critical applications to their customers.

In this blog, we will demonstrate how Marvell’s Prestera® switches equipped with TrackIQ visibility tools are evolving to address the unique needs of such networks.

The changing RAN

The RAN is the portion of a mobile system that spans from the cell tower to the mobile core network. Until recently, it was built from vendor-developed interfaces like CPRI (Common Public Radio Interface) and typically delivered as an end-to-end system by one RAN vendor in each contiguous geographic area.

Lately, with the introduction of 5G services, the RAN is undergoing several changes as shown in Figure 1 below:

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October 12th, 2021

Trends Driving Innovations in Next-Generation Retail Networking

By Amit Thakkar, Senior Director, Product Management, Marvell

The retail segment of the global economy has been one of the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Lockdowns shuttered stores for extended periods, while social distancing measures significantly impacted foot traffic in these spaces. Now, as consumer demand has shifted rapidly from physical to virtual stores, the sector is looking to reinvent itself and apply lessons learned from the pandemic. One important piece of knowledge that has surfaced across the retail industry: Investing in critical data infrastructure is a must in order to rapidly accommodate changes in consumption patterns.

Consumers have become much more conscious of the digital experience and, as such, prefer a seamless transition in shopping experiences across both virtual and brick-and-mortar stores. Retailers are revisiting investment in network infrastructure to ensure that the network is “future-proofed” to withstand consumer demand swings. It will be critical to offer new customer-focused, personalized experiences such as cashier-less stores and smart shopping in a manner that is secure, resilient, and high performance. Infrastructure companies will need to be able to bring a complete set of technology options to meet the digital transformation needs of the modern distributed enterprise.

Highlighted below are five emerging technology trends in enterprise networking that are driving innovations in the retail industry to build the modern store experience.

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October 4th, 2021

Marvell and Los Alamos National Laboratory Demonstrate High-Bandwidth Capability for HPC Storage Workloads in the Data Center with Ethernet-Bunch-Of-Flash (EBOF) Platform

By Khurram Malik, Senior Manager, Technical Marketing, Marvell

As data growth continues at a tremendously rapid pace, data centers have a strong demand for scalable, flexible, and high bandwidth utilization of storage solutions. Data centers need an efficient infrastructure to meet the growing requirements of next-generation high performance computing (HPC), machine learning (ML)/artificial intelligence (AI), composable disaggregated infrastructure (CDI), and storage expansion shelf applications which necessitate scalable, high performance, and cost-efficient technologies. Hyperscalers and storage OEMs tend to scale system-level performance linearly, driven by the number of NVMe SSDs that plug into the system. However, current NVMe-oF storage target Just-A-Bunch-Of-Flash (JBOF) architecture connects fast performance NVMe SSDs behind the JBOF components, causing system-level performance bottlenecks due to CPU, DRAM, PCIe switch and smartNIC bandwidth. In addition, JBOF architecture requires a fixed ratio of CPU and SSDs which results in underutilized resources. Another challenge with JBOF architecture is the scalability of CPU, DRAM, and smartNIC devices does not match the total bandwidth of corresponding NVMe SSDs in the system due to the overall system cost overhead and thus, impacts system-level performance.

Marvell introduced its industry-first NVMe-oF to NVMe SSD converter controller, the 88SN2400, as a data center storage solution application. It enables the industry to introduce EBOF storage architecture which provides an innovative approach to address JBOF architecture challenges, and truly disaggregate storage from the compute. EBOF architecture replaces JBOF bottleneck components like CPUs, DRAM and smartNICs with Ethernet switch and terminates NVMe-oF either on the bridge or Ethernet SSD. Marvell is enabling NAND vendors to offer Ethernet SSD products. EBOF architecture allows scalability, flexibility, and full utilization of PCIe NVMe drives.

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October 3rd, 2021

Unleashing 5G Network Performance with Next Generation Ethernet

By Alik Fishman, Director of Product Management, Marvell

Blink your eyes. That’s how fast data will travel from your future 5G-enabled device, over the network to a server and back. Like Formula 1 racing cars needing special tracks for optimal performance, 5G requires agile networking transport infrastructure to unleash its full potential. The 5G radio access network (RAN) requires not only base stations with higher throughputs and soaring speeds but also an advanced transport network, capable of securely delivering fast response times to mobile end points, whatever those might be: phones, cars or IoT devices. Radio site densification and Massive Machine-type Communication (mMTC) technology are rapidly scaling the mobile network to support billions of end devices1, amplifying the key role of network transport to enable instant and reliable connectivity.

With Ethernet being adopted as the most efficient transport technology, carrier routers and switches are tasked to support a variety of use cases over shared infrastructure, driving the growth in Ethernet gear installations. In traditional cellular networks, baseband and radio resources were co-located and dedicated at each cell site. This created significant challenges to support growth and shifts in traffic patterns with available capacity. With the emergence of more flexible centralized architectures such as C-RAN, baseband processing resources are pooled in base station hubs called central units (CUs) and distributed units (DUs) and dynamically shared with remote radio units (RUs). This creates even larger concentrations of traffic to be moved to and from these hubs over the network transport.

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September 14th, 2021

Why the 100G Optical Module Transformation is Full Steam Ahead

By Rohan Gandhi, Product Marketing Manager, Optical and Copper Connectivity

When the London Underground opened its first line in 1863, a group of doubtful dignitaries boarded a lurching, smoke-belching train for history’s inaugural subway ride. The next day, thirty thousand curious Londoners flooded the nascent system, and within a year, more than nine million had embraced its use. Nearly 160 years later, that original tunnel is still in daily use, joining 250 miles of track that carry more than 1.3 billion passengers annually.

What were the keys to such extraordinary growth? Not just popular demand for more tunnels, but also better use of accumulated infrastructure – optimized through newer trains, enhanced signaling, greater energy efficiency, and smarter scheduling. In a sense, the Tube’s transformation mirrors the fundamental challenge now confronting modern data centers: how to make better use of existing infrastructure to handle today’s exponential growth of data.

PAM4 DSP Technology is Fast and Flexible

To keep up with the surging data demands of new video and AI workloads, modern data centers can’t simply add more and bigger pipes – at least not cost-effectively. They need PAM4 based optical module solutions to effectively and efficiently move more bandwidth at higher speeds. In addition, they need to be able to update the optical modules via software, optimizing existing infrastructure at an affordable price.

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