Nvidia has found another use for its computationally-powerful graphics processors: Accelerating the rollout of 5G cellular networking through the Nvidia Aerial software development kit (SDK).
5G promises much for the future of mobile telephony, even to the point of being at the heart of numerous cloud-gaming and even virtual reality efforts. Boosting throughput and latency, however, puts increasing strain on the servers behind the masts - and it's here Nvidia's hoping to find a market for its graphics processors.
Speaking at the Mobile World Congress event this week, Nvidia founder and chief executive argued that fixed-function mobile infrastructure won't work in the 5G era. Pointing to a need for a new architecture which is reconfigurable and high-performance, Huang unveiled the Nvidia Aerial software development kit - capable of running atop the company's high-performance EGX GPU-accelerated edge compute 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,' explains Nvidia's Soma Velayutham. '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 [Radio Access Network] networks using off-the-shelf servers with Nvidia GPUs.'
The idea is to bring compute performance out of the data centre and towards the edge of the network, reducing the distance a given signal has to travel - and, thus, its latency. Known as 'edge computing,' the concept offers additional advantages including savings in cooling compared with a centralised data centre and lowered contention - assuming that all a services' users aren't connecting to the same mobile base station.
Nvidia isn't ready to release Aerial publicly, however: The company has said that it is making the SDK available to early access partners now with general availability towards the end of the year, with interested parties invited to register for more information.
November 22 2019 | 13:00