RapidIO Fabrics enjoy dominant market share in global deployment of cellular infrastructure 3G, 4G & LTE networks with over 45 million RapidIO ports shipped into wireless base stations to date. RapidIO Frabrics were originally designed to support connecting different types of processors from different manufacturers together in a single system. This flexibility has driven the widespread use of RapidIO Fabrics in wireless infrastructure equipment where there is a need to combine general purpose, digital signal, FPGA and communication processors together in a tightly coupled system with low latency and high reliability.
Network operators continue to face the challenge of building out a scalable communications infrastructure that keeps pace with ever-increasing growth in bandwidth hungry services and subscribers while keeping capital and operational expenditures low. The ongoing convergence of video, cloud-based social platforms, and the exploding adoption of smart phones / tablets and services are having an unprecedented impact on carrier networks.
In order to meet this challenge, carriers have started to leverage datacenters to help create these services bridging the traditional gap between datacom and telecom networks to form a more unified network.
This unified datacenter-network paradigm is being deployed by extending virtualization technologies such as software-defined networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) into the carrier network domain delivering improved overall end-to-end network utilization and operational efficiencies.
Applying virtualization schemes based on NFV and SDN allows the entire network to run on a common, generic and multi-purpose hardware resource pool. This reduces network complexity significantly and simplifies network management. By leveraging centralized control and virtualized hardware platforms, core applications share a common hardware pool to provide scalability and resource optimization. New services and upgrades can be achieved through software instead of the costly hardware upgrades.
The figure to the right shows a conceptual view of an SDN-based carrier network. The hardware platform is decoupled and the disparate cellular technologies run on the virtualized network elements and are agnostic to the hardware infrastructure. In sections below, we will discuss how NFV and SDN can optimize different segments of carrier networks.
Reconfigurability and flexibility of the common hardware platform referenced above are required elements when architecting SDN and NFV capable systems.
This overall system topology flexibility is at the very core of RapidIO Fabrics as the specification assumes there are multiple host or master processors in a system needing to communicate with each other through shared memory, interrupts and messages. Also, RapidIO Fabrics can support up to 64K processors (or end points), each with their own complete address space and supporting peer-to-peer transactions.
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