The growing volume of data traffic in 5G mobile means that SoC designers now must grapple with mounting mobile bandwidth requirements, more connectivity for IoT and advanced autonomous driving technologies, and emerging technologies to enable real-time interactive systems. All of this requires a range of efficient and high-bandwidth IP solutions.
One of the biggest challenges that SoC designers face is satisfying the incredibly complex baseband processing requiring custom solutions and integrating it with 64-bit architectures found throughout mobile devices and mobile infrastructure. A second challenge is moving large payloads of data off-chip in newly introduced network slices (PCIe plays a huge role there, as will time-sensitive networks [TSN] Ethernet in the future).
With carrier aggregation and massive MIMO, the challenges increase as SoC designers might even need to employ some machine-learning algorithms to be able to handle the complexity of the different spectrums that are being managed. Massive MIMO adds dozens of antennas that are capturing signals that may now support beamforming capabilities to lock into the most efficient data paths.
Security is also a major challenge. With the increased reliance of 5G networks on software, the opportunities for attackers to find vulnerabilities have also increased. The use of more software has increased the attack surface, created more potential points of entry for attackers, and heightened the chances for major security flaws to be derived from poor development processes.
The mobile market has one of the most mature type of security implementations, with the requirement of a secure enclave established so that designers can enable public and private keys. These same solutions and applications are being applied to other areas that relate to 5G, including automotive, IoT devices, and more.