back to article Software-defined silicon is coming for telecom kit later this year

While the IT industry waits to see if and when Intel will introduce software-defined silicon in Xeon CPUs, one startup is moving ahead with plans to bring a pay-for-what-you-use pricing model to the telecom market with its "base station-on-a-chip" later this year. Silicon Valley-based EdgeQ, which is led by former Qualcomm and …

  1. VoiceOfTruth Silver badge

    Transition costs

    -> make it more cost-effective and, therefore, more feasible for organizations to transition from 4G networks to 5G networks

    When your regime clobbers the 5G market leader I guess you have to do something to make things cheaper.

  2. OhForF' Silver badge

    Remote kill switch

    "an organization would only have to pay for the features it uses, that can be toggled on or off through over-the-air updates from EdgeQ and its system partners."

    In other words both EdgeQ and its system partners have a remote kill switch for the communication infrastructure they lease to their customers.

    Will states think this business model is desirable or will they prohibit this to make sure the networks keep working?

    It will be difficult to justify this while banning Huawei kit for allegedly having the same power.

    1. VoiceOfTruth Silver badge

      Re: Remote kill switch

      -> a remote kill switch

      And how long before the *bad guys* figure out how to trigger it?

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Remote kill switch

        Realistically, China's and Russia's NSA equivalents will figure this out soon after the first units go live (I assume the NSA already knows).

        The state sponsored ransomware gangs will have it soon after that and then it will leak to the dark web.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Remote kill switch

        I'm sure the NSA already do.

      3. jockmcthingiemibobb
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Remote kill switch

        Yeah, because operators deploy their EPC with full Internet access..

    2. Number6

      Re: Remote kill switch

      That was my first thought. Having "bought" e-books which were then rendered inaccessible to me, I am wary of anything like this where something can be disabled without the 'owner' having any control over the matter.

      1. Mike 137 Silver badge

        Re: Remote kill switch

        This is obviously 'the way forward' to ensure vendor revenue streams.

        In our lab we have a 35 year old top of the range oscilloscope that does exactly what it says on the case. We also have a mid range precision DVM that can be 'upgraded' by buying a license and entering a numeric code at its front panel. So it's actually a top of the range instrument that's been intentionally crippled unless we fork out more dosh.

        I can't immediately think of a polite word to describe this practice, but at least in the case of the DVM the license is perpetual once paid for. A polite word may not even exist for holding organisations to ransom with the threat of turning off their hardware remotely if their subscription payment fails.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Remote kill switch

      "Yes, but they're OUR ruthless capitalist bastards, not THEIR ruthless capitalist bastards"

      Anyone non-USAian will be looking askance at this for exactly the reasoning brought up

  3. Terafirma-NZ

    some pay for ad-ons going a bit far

    So I can pay for an ad-on for low latency? so how does it work if I don't pay for that you keep pushing updates to slow it down until I pay for the low latency module? I thought the point was that it goes as fast as it can but I pay for throughput latency seems a little on the nose to charge for.

    So many vendors trying to get into the private 5G that I just don't see being taken up and as for carriers deploying large 5G none will be looking for a "cloud" based EPC or even an EPC internet exposed.

  4. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    I have a latency problem

    Not yet halfway through the day, but already all my own concerns have been identified by earlier commentards.

  5. Throgmorton Horatio III

    Petty minds

    Never mind the ability to switch features on and off remotely, why cripple something capable of so much more? When will businesses make the best that they can, rather than put out mediocrity?

    1. David Hicklin Bronze badge

      Re: Petty minds

      "why cripple something capable of so much more?"

      One word : Profit

    2. DJO Silver badge

      Cost of manufacturing - It's cheaper to make one model and cripple it in software than to produce multiple different models.

      I don't have a problem with this, it's like buying a camera with an "adequate" lens and then when you've more cash buying a much better lens.

      It could be compared to the shareware software model where for free or a small expenditure you get the program either crippled or time limited and then you pay for full access.

      But having the upgrade activated or deactivated on the public facing internet is completely insane. Also the "upgrade" should be one-way only, downgrades should not even be possible.

      1. low_resolution_foxxes

        Indeed, I've been on the designing side trying to make whizzy electronic products and doing the whole maths of:

        Have two systems - basic + premium. You'll need two sets of engineers and multiple software/PCB layers. Parts will probably go obsolete simultaneously and cause chaos. Generally known as a pain in the butt to source, especially when you have multiple factory sites globally.


        Have one slightly more expensive product capable of doing everything - have a kill/enable switch for the premium features. Let the customers upgrade if they want. One product line and one development cycle. All factories make the same part, builds in some redundancy in case the factory burns down etc.

  6. Snowy Silver badge


    That 5G uses more power to run than 4G in it's current implementation.

  7. Justthefacts Silver badge


    I’m sad. I was hoping for some tantrums of internally conflicted freetards.

    #1 See, it’s got RISCV! Told you they would destroy ARM, so cool, when can I buy this chip so I can put Cyanogenmod on it” [yes, I do know. But fanboiz]

    #2 “company is charging for software features…,that should come free with the hardware….after all, they’ve already written it, so why can’t I haz it?”

    But we’ve only heard #2. Come on fanboiz, where’s the RISCV army to assert that possession of an open-source instruction set makes them Not Evil and Winnerz?I have a bowl of popcorn, and I’m hungry.

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