NVIDIA CEO Introduces Aerial — Software to Accelerate 5G on NVIDIA GPUs

Telcos can use the NVIDIA Aerial software developer kit and off-the-shelf servers with NVIDIA GPUs to create the most programmable and scalable software-defined 5G networks to deliver AI services at the edge.
by Soma Velayutham

Speeding the mass adoption of AI at the 5G edge, NVIDIA has introduced Aerial, a software developer kit enabling GPU-accelerated, software-defined wireless radio access networks.

In his keynote at Mobile World Congress Los Angeles, NVIDIA founder and CEO Jensen Huang detailed how Aerial, running on the NVIDIA EGX platform, enables AI services and immersive content at the edge of 5G networks.

5G offers plenty of speed, of course, delivering 10x lower latency, 1,000x the bandwidth and millions of connected devices per square kilometer. 5G also introduces the critical concept of “network slicing.” This allows telcos to dynamically — on a session-by-session basis — offer unique services to customers.

Traditional solutions cannot be reconfigured quickly, therefore telco operators need a new network architecture. One that’s high performance and reconfigurable by the second, Huang explained.

Such virtualized radio access networks run in the wireless infrastructure closest to customers, making it well suited to offer AI services at the edge. They’re critical to building a modern 5G infrastructure capable of running a range of applications that are dynamically provisioned on a common platform.

With NVIDIA Aerial, the same computing infrastructure required for 5G networking can be used to provide AI services such as smart cities, smart factories, AR/VR and cloud gaming.

In the next five to ten years, the market for AI at the edge, the
number of connected devices, even revenues and investments are projected to grow exponentially.

Aerial provides two critical SDKs — CUDA Virtual Network Function (cuVNF) and CUDA Baseband (cuBB) — to simplify building highly scalable and programmable, software-defined 5G RAN networks using off-the-shelf servers with NVIDIA GPUs.

  • The NVIDIA cuVNF SDK provides optimized input/output and packet processing, sending 5G packets directly to GPU memory from GPUDirect-capable network interface cards.
  • The NVIDIA cuBB SDK provides a GPU-accelerated 5G signal processing pipeline, including cuPHY for L1 5G Phy, delivering unprecedented throughput and efficiency by keeping all physical layer processing within the GPU’s high-performance memory.

The NVIDIA Aerial SDK runs on the NVIDIA EGX stack, bringing GPU acceleration to carrier-grade Kubernetes infrastructure.

The NVIDIA EGX stack includes an NVIDIA driver, NVIDIA Kubernetes plug-in, NVIDIA Container runtime plug-in and NVIDIA GPU monitoring software.

To simplify the management of GPU-enabled servers, telcos can install all required NVIDIA software as containers that run on Kubernetes — open-source software widely used to speed the deployment and management of sophisticated software of all kinds.

In short, Aerial enables the highest return on investment by providing elasticity as network traffic changes throughout the day, as well as the flexibility to offer services based on changing customer needs.

Aerial is already endorsed by some of the world’s leading telcos and cloud infrastructure providers:

“The telco industry is eagerly adopting cloud-native architecture to meet the growing compute demands of 5G. We are learning firsthand how the remarkable compute performance of NVIDIA GPUs, together with NVIDIA’s Aerial SDKs, can address the challenges of building flexible, high-performance virtualized telecom networks. We look forward to Aerial’s continued development.”

— Yasuyuki Nakajima, president and CEO, KDDI Research, Inc.

“5G networks must rely on software-defined infrastructure from the core to the edge to enable a range of high-value services, like AI/ML, IoT and autonomous driving. Red Hat’s vision of extending cloud-native technologies to the edge combined with NVIDIA’s flexible Aerial SDK aims to bring GPU acceleration to 5G RAN. We’ve teamed up with NVIDIA to provide our customers with standardized 5G infrastructure that enables them to develop and deploy their edge applications faster.”

— Chris Wright, senior vice president and chief technology officer, Red Hat

“SoftBank Corp. has been focused over the past decade on building centralized radio access networks that guarantee high capacity and stability. We believe that our 5G network will be completed through a software approach, or softwarization, and that NVIDIA’s Aerial SDKs will play an instrumental role in this effort. It enables an open ecosystem for software-defined 5G networks delivering both flexibility and high performance, which will help SoftBank Corp. drive the digital transformation of the telco industry.”

— Ryuji Wakikawa, vice president and head of the Advanced Technology Division, SoftBank Corp.


NVIDIA Aerial is available to early access partners today. Planned general availability is yearend. Sign up here to receive more information.

Visit NVIDIA at MWC Los Angeles

To experience firsthand the power of the EGX platform with Aerial, visit us at booth 1745 in Hall South at MWC Los Angeles this week.