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In an exclusive interview with Telecom Review, Stefano Resi, Sales Director, IP and Optical Networking, Nokia MEA, talks in depth about Nokia’s new FP5 chipset designed to record a generational leap in capacity and security.

Why is the Nokia FP5 network processing silicon categorized as a generational leap in IP network capacity?

It is, in fact, a generational leap forward, and we are already receiving a positive response from tier-1 operators worldwide. 

Earlier this year, we announced the fifth generation of IP-routing chipset, named FP5. This industry-leading silicon engine provides tangible value to network operators in terms of security, programmability, and energy efficiency. Moreover, it is designed to ensure the best-in-class capacity. In brief, FP5 will enable operators to continue to provide a world-class network experience even when the network faces unexpected changes. 

Let's keep in mind that FP5 is the ultimate evolution of successful history, reaching more than 900 service providers (including the close to top 50 CAPEX spenders) and more than 1.2 million IP-router platform shipped. 

The secret of Nokia's success in IP-routing, for over 15 years now, is its own `in-house' silicon, which allows it to regularly introduce quantum-leaps in terms of capacity and new features in each new generation.

FP5’s 4.8Tb/s chipset allows 14.4Tbps per slot and reaches up to 19.2Tbps per slot with intelligent aggregation. In addition, Nokia FP5 is the first to support 800GE interface and up to 1.6Tb/s IP/FlexE as a single flow with all the intelligence of service edge. 

The last 18 months have stressed the networks in different ways, beyond the usual stress in capacity. It has been an unprecedented test for operators as the networks have been subject to massive numbers of security attacks. At the same time, the engineers had to face the challenge of reconfiguring "in real-time" networks for unexpected new traffic patterns. 

While operators leveraged FP4 to overcome some challenges introduced in the network because of the pandemic, FP5 now takes a new leap forward. It will help them address new challenges in the years to come.

How is Nokia FP5 meeting sustainability needs and maintaining power efficiency?

I'll start with some data points. It has been estimated that the information and communication industry is responsible for 5% to 9% of the global electricity consumption. This equates to about 2% of the worldwide greenhouse emissions. 

FP5 is based on 7nm technology and is setting new standards in this domain. This level of miniaturization, together with an efficient design, allows FP5 to give a massive 75% power savings compared to previous chip generation, thus directly reducing the greenhouse emissions and helping operators reach their environmental objectives. 

But this is not all. Reduced power consumption has a positive impact on the electricity bill of many of our customers. This is especially significant now when we see a steep increase in energy costs. And particularly in areas of our region where gen-sets still supply power to sites, sometimes in need of a fuel supply. In addition, an increase in energy efficiency means less indirect operational costs, such as site maintenance, cooling, and footprint. 

As a Nokia employee, I'm personally very proud to see our company in the '2021 World’s Most Ethical Companies’ according to Ethisphere.com, and the only telecom vendor to make it to the list. 

What new features does it bring to service providers and cloud architectures?

This is a very important point. For a few years, operators have been on a quest to reshape their network architectures to support 5G introduction, the cloud transformation and Industry 4.0.

I could drill the challenges down to three words: capacity, security and flexibility. At the same time, the pandemic is not the only reason for these challenges. Using an example from football field, Leo Messi's transfer from Barcelona to PSG suddenly increased the traffic in French service providers’ networks. Amazon recently bought the rights of the Italian league, and suddenly, the Italian service providers’ networks were stressed with unexpected exponential increase in traffic. FP5 comes with innovative features and capabilities to deal with all three challenges. I have already addressed the capacity leap forward, but with regards to security, it is interesting to note that DDoS attacks grew last year 100%, while video traffic "just" 70%. FP5 embeds precise attack sensors and mitigation elements that allow operators to react to these attacks without impacting network performance. 

FP5 is the industry's first high-performance routing silicon delivering integrated line-rate encryption for L2, L2.5 and L3 network services at speeds up to 1.6Tbps. The new Nokia ANYsec flow-based, line-rate, any-layer encryption protects against data theft/manipulation without introducing latency. Hence CSPs can offer their customers the secure connectivity services they are looking for.

Nokia designed FP5 with a fully programmable NPU architecture. This enables unparalleled agility to support new protocols and services. Advanced telemetry is the first one that comes to my mind. This architecture will assure the longest lifecycle, thus unmatched investment protection.  

Nokia has long been at the forefront of providing an embedded approach to IP network security. What transformation does FP5 add to its predecessors?

Nokia’s FP5 is continuing on the path opened by FP4, which is to address the challenge of network security by building advanced security capabilities, such as DDoS filtering and now line-rate encryption directly into the processor. This helps operators to avoid high costs, and most importantly degraded performances due to “appliance-based” security model.

The “ANYsec”, as example, provides low-latency, native encryption for any transport (IP, MPLS, segment routing, Ethernet or VLAN), on any service, at any time and for any load conditions without impacting performance. This is based on industry standards that will allow to transform internal transport, wholesale, backhaul and VPN services into secure services at a flip of a switch. FP5 is a formidable element to step up the network security capabilities without compromising on performances.

Let me stress that, while FP5 is a next-gen chipset, it delivers all these advancements on the same platforms and with the same operating system as FP4. This is done to allow operators to evolve the existing network "seamlessly" without any disruption. Nokia is providing full support of the FP4 features on FP5, as well as backward compatibility with several platforms, thus avoiding the need to upgrade cooling, power, or chassis. 

We believe we owe this to our customer who has invested in our products and are concerned when suppliers, by changing chipset, impose an entirely new line of products. Sometimes this leads to service disruption, security breaches, and extra operational expenses.

To put it simply, FP5 brings evolution and not a revolution to ensure maximum possible investment protection to our customers.

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