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What 5G Wireless Infrastructure Needs Most | Cypress Semiconductor

What 5G Wireless Infrastructure Needs Most

With 5G, we’ll be able to access a host of new applications in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), V2V communications and connected edge computing. But how do we implement the infrastructure necessary to make this all possible? Besides high bandwidth and low latency, 5G needs six 9s of reliability and 24/7 availability.

As 5G comes to market, there is a significant need to upgrade supporting technologies beyond what was used in 4G networks. Demands for quicker time-to-market, combined with changing market standards, have led to the widespread use of field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), as well as complementary System-on-Chip devices (SoCs) in a broad range of wireless infrastructure applications. FPGAs and SoCs need configuration each time the system is powered up. With 4G networks, this is done via memories such as Flash, eMMC, unmanaged NAND and SD cards. However, these technologies lack the high reliability and low latency that the 5G infrastructure needs to succeed.

Those shortcomings are what make NOR flash memory—especially our Semper NOR —an ideal candidate for solving these problems. It is the only memory to embed an Arm® Cortex® M0 and enables trusted intelligence with flexible architecture to increase reliability and performance. Other benefits include:

  • High Reliability – Semper™ NOR Flash can perform reliably even in the most unforgiving environmental conditions such as harsh weather and extreme temperatures. 
  • High Density – Semper’s high density enables the monolithic 1Gb required for 5G wireless infrastructure.
  • Retention – Unlike consumer-oriented NAND Flash and SD cards, Semper NOR Flash has been optimized for reliability and performance. This technology uses a relatively larger memory cell providing high endurance and long data retention.
  • Low Power – Because the NOR Flash component is typically idle in between FPGA/SoC configuration cycles, the deep power-down and stand-by modes of Cypress’ Semper NOR Flash can help reduce power consumption after configuration is complete. This is especially important in edge devices that frequently run on battery power.

Furthermore, securing wireless infrastructure equipment is becoming a top priority due to growing security risks and large-scale attacks on telecom companies worldwide. The simplest way to add security to these systems is by deploying secure boot and access control processes.

In response, we’ve started developing products with built-in security features such as Public Key Infrastructure based authentication and access control, and secure boot. These features can add additional measures to protect the security of proprietary IP, prevent tampering of configuration image/boot code and keep the network continuously available.

As designers begin work on 5G wireless infrastructure products, there is an increased focus on fail-safe operation to meet the requirements of applications such as eHealth, IIoT and self-driving cars. Choosing the right memory ultimately helps ensure the success of the product, and when it comes to storing FPGA configuration images and SoC boot code, NOR Flash is the preferred choice over NAND and SD cards.

To learn more about our 5G solutions, visit: https://www.cypress.com/solutions/5g-solutions

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