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February 14, 2012

Intel Unveils New Platform for Processing Multimedia Content

By Beecher Tuttle, TMCnet Contributor

Intel (News - Alert) on Tuesday teased its next-generation communications platform, Crystal Forest, which the company says will be able to speed up data processing while also addressing cloud connectivity and large content processing needs.

Like other competing chip sets, Crystal Forest was developed to help equipment vendors and service providers handle complex network tasks created by the influx of smartphones, apps, mobile video and other multimedia content.

Santa Clara, California-based Intel says that the platform will help eliminate the inherent difficulty that equipment manufacturers have when handling multiple communications workloads when building platforms for a scalable network. Crystal Forest is designed to eliminate this costly and complex task by consolidating application, control and packet processing on multi-core Intel architecture processors. The end result, says Intel, is better performance and quicker time to market.

"The demand for increased network performance will continue to grow as more smart devices connect to the Internet every day," Rose Schooler, general manager of Intel’s Communications Infrastructure Division, noted in a statement. "And with the popularity of social networking and other high-bandwidth services, such as video and photo uploads/downloads, interactive video, crowdcasting and online gaming, service providers will be challenged to efficiently provision sufficient upstream capacity and manage the spike in network traffic."

When released later this year, Crystal Forest is expected to deliver up to 160 million packets per second performance for Layer 3 packet forwarding, which Intel says will enable thousands of high-def videos to be simultaneously transported across each network node. Intel claims the chip set provides five times the performance of previous iterations.

In addition to accelerating the delivering of mobile video and other high-bandwidth services, Crystal can process specialized packet workloads – including cryptography, compression and deep packet inspection – enabling service providers to handle a greater number of secure transactions without the cost of specialized solutions. Intel says the solution can provide "always on" Web connections for secure services.

For equipment manufacturers, Crystal Forest should help in designing more flexible and cost-effective platforms. Service providers, meanwhile, can benefit from much less complex network management, says Intel.

The platform is scheduled to be released later this year. 

Beecher Tuttle is a TMCnet contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Juliana Kenny

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