Intel debuts next-gen communications platform

Intel Corporation on Tuesday disclosed several features for the company’s next-generation communications platform, named “Crystal Forest.”  The communications platform will handle data processing across the network while addressing the needs for handling cloud connectivity and content processing.



Intel Corporation on Tuesday disclosed several features for the company’s next-generation communications platform, named “Crystal Forest.”  The communications platform will handle data processing across the network while addressing the needs for handling cloud connectivity and content processing.


Each minute of the day, 30 hours of video are uploaded across the network, and by 2015 it is estimated to take 5 years to watch all the video crossing IP networks each second, according to a report by Cisco (San Jose, Calif., USA). As these numbers continue to climb, the burden will be on equipment manufacturers and service providers to deliver platform services that can cost-effectively manage rapidly increasing traffic without compromising performance and security, according to Intel (Santa Clara, Calif., USA).


Currently, equipment manufacturers must combine a variety of highly specialized silicon co-processors with different software programming models to handle multiple communications workloads when building platforms for a scalable network.  With Crystal Forest, equipment manufacturers will be able to consolidate three communications workloads – application, control and packet processing – on multi-core Intel architecture processors to deliver and accelerate time to market. They can also develop a scalable product line based on multiple Intel processor options to plan for future performance increases.


“The demand for increased network performance will continue to grow as more smart devices connect to the Internet every day,” said Rose Schooler, general manager of Intel’s Communications Infrastructure Division. “And with the popularity of social networking and other high-bandwidth services, such as video and photo uploads/downloads, interactive video, crowdcasting and online gaming, service providers will be challenged to efficiently provision sufficient upstream capacity and manage the spike in network traffic.”


Intel’s next-generation communications platform is expected to deliver up to 160 million packets per second performance for Layer 3 packet forwarding, making it possible to send thousands of high-definition videos across each network node.  Previously, only ASIC or specialized processors were capable of sending more than 100 million packets per second, says Intel.


The Intel Data Plane Development Kit, a set of software libraries and algorithms, can help the performance and throughput of packets on Intel architecture platforms to yield more than five times the performance over previous generations of Intel platforms.


Crystal Forest will also utilize Intel QuickAssist technology, which processes and accelerates specialized packet workloads – cryptography, compression and deep packet inspection included – on standard Intel platforms. Using this technology, internet transactions can be accelerated up to 100Gbps on the platform to give service providers the ability to handle more transactions without the cost of specialized solutions. The network will also be able to evolve to provide “always-on” secure Internet connections, as opposed to the opt-in connections currently used on select applications or for financial transactions online, says Intel.


The platform is scheduled to be available later this year.