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NEC and Xilinx working to create faster 5G radio units for O-RAN builders

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Radio Unit is a joyous experience for users and base station installers

Adaptive computing vendor Xilinx and NEC Corporation are collaborating on NEC's latest 5G radio units (RUs) and the resulting fast, versatile and instalment friendly model of RU should appear in early 2022.

The productivity boost is thanks to the integration of Xilinx’s popular 7nm Versal AI Core series devices into NEC’s RUs.

These latest NEC 5G massive MIMO RUs use digital beamforming to improve communication and broaden bandwidth. The NEC RUs will support a wide range of 5G frequencies, including C-Band.

The Xilinx Versal AI Core series devices will introduce new open radio access network (O-RAN) options within the NEC RUs in addition to the inherent features of advanced signal processing and beamforming. The O-RAN interfaces make open and flexible 5G RAN installations possible and will significantly broaden the RU’s compatibility with products from different vendors.

Best RU option for base station builders

The bottom line should be more power to the user, with less fiddling for the network engineer and more options in the future, according to Liam Madden, executive VP and general manager of the Wired and Wireless Group at Xilinx.

“NEC's new massive MIMO radios using Xilinx's commercially-proven beamforming will improve the wireless end-user experience as use cases grow and evolve in future," said Madden. NEC's leadership in massive MIMO radio design and Xilinx’s versatile technology will create a compelling utility to the O-RAN buyers, he predicted.

The 5G base station market is notoriously brutal unless you present an alternative that is outstandingly different, according to Kenichi Ito, general manager at the 1st Wireless Access Solutions Division at NEC. The integration of Xilinx technology within NEC Rus will provide such a valuable advantage to NEC customers, Ito said.

Installers want highly-capable and feature-rich radio units that perform to order at the scale needed by any application said Ito: “The Xilinx Versal AI Core series delivers on its design promise for performance and scalability by using advanced signal-processing for massive MIMO antennas and beamforming."