As they provide indispensable programmable logic to 5G gNodeBs, field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) are an important component of 5G base stations manufactured by key RAN vendors. Instead of hardwiring everything into an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC), the FPGA can gradually adapt as the fresh gNodeB learns and adjusts to support critical 5G features such as beamforming and massive MIMO. Nokia's line of "ReefShark" FPGA-based chips was unveiled with great fanfare in January 2018 and marketed as “reducing the size, cost and power consumption of operators’ networks to meet the massive compute and radio requirements of 5G,” according to Nokia’s 29 January 2018 press release. Like many in the mobile industry, I was excited, but ReefShark’s dark side caught all of us off guard. Perhaps a different name would have worked better. Clients, please log in to view the full content.
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