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Telefónica I+D and Intel explore how to evolve telecom network edge infrastructure with software-defined approachWhile the general trend in IT has been away from fixed hardware, telecom service providers still rely on expensive, purpose-built hardware to perform essential network processes. Using the Intel® Xeon® processor E5 family, Telefónica I+D and Intel have collaborated to convert processes in the network edge infrastructure into software-based solutions that can be virtualized and run on general Intel® architecture-based hardware. By removing its reliance on dedicated, proprietary technologies, Telefónica I+D has seen increased opportunities for service innovation, faster development cycles, and reduced costs for network operation and evolution.Challenges• Flexibility: Telefónica I+D found that the current paradigm for the network edge elements, relying on many hardware-based functionalities, becomes complex to operate and often limits service innovation and development.• Specialized: Telefónica I+D wanted to test whether Intel architecture-based hardware could perform the intensive processes previously carried out by specialized hardware while preserving service quality.• Software: It aimed to shift to a software-oriented approach, enabling a more open ecosystem of software collaborators to develop compatible networking solutions based on x86 architecture.Solutions• Collaboration: Telefónica I+D collaborated with Intel to convert network edge processes to run on Intel architecture.• Performance: Telefónica I+D harnessed the high performance of the Intel Xeon processor E5 family to handle the data-intensive requirements for network equipment, including data plane switching and processing.• Optimization: Telefónica I+D optimized applications for Intel architecture using the Intel® Data Plane Development Kit (Intel® DPDK) to maximize output quality.Impact• Choice: By moving from fixed hardware to a software-oriented approach, Telefónica I+D can develop a more flexible, scalable network, avoiding being locked in to completely different hardware for each particular node.• Economical: With network applications running on commercial Intel architecture-based hardware, it can benefit from lower operating and maintenance costs.• Innovation: Engineers can focus on developing and enhancing services.Read the full Unleasing Network-based Service Innovation.