The 5G era ushers in changes to the wireless industry and new benefits to end-users. One change is a new partitioning of network-infrastructure functions, dividing the once-monolithic base station into three pieces: the radio unit (RU), distributed unit (DU), and centralized unit (CU). Associated with one or more RUs, the DU performs upper-layer PHY and media-access functions. It shares characteristics of both standard Linux computers and real-time systems and may be deployed in the field.
NXP demonstrated at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show a working 5G system, including a DU highlighting how the Layerscape LX2160A processor addresses these requirements. This 16-core device integrates multiple high-speed PCI Express interfaces and Ethernet ports running up to 100Gbps, delivering the needed computational performance and I/O in a power-efficient envelope. NXP also showed how its Layerscape Access programmable baseband processors can help enable fixed-wireless access designs for the customer premises, small cells, repeaters, in-home wireless links, and accelerators for CU systems. These programmable devices help mobile operators quickly deploy open radio-access networks. NXP has solutions from the antenna to the processor.