Edge computing - a must for 5G success
5G and edge computing are opening a world of new revenue opportunities across manufacturing, transport, gaming and more. How can communications service providers gain an edge ahead of competitors? Find out everything you need to know below.
What is edge computing?
Edge computing in telecom, often referred to as Mobile Edge Computing, MEC, or Multi-Access Edge Computing, provides execution resources (compute and storage) for applications with networking close to the end users, typically within or at the boundary of operator networks.
Edge computing can also be placed at enterprise premises, for example inside factory buildings, in homes and vehicles, including trains, planes and private cars. The edge infrastructure can be managed or hosted by communication service providers or other types of service providers. Several use cases require various applications to deployed at different sites. In such scenarios a distributed cloud is useful which can be seen as an execution environment for applications over multiple sites, including connectivity managed as one solution.
The main benefits edge solutions provide include low latency, high bandwidth, device processing and data offload as well as trusted computing and storage.
Service providers are in a great position to capture the edge opportunity
Today’s service providers are ideally positioned to deliver intelligent traffic routing from the mobile network to the optimal location of the enterprise application, in addition to having people on the ground and expert knowledge of network topology, network efficiency, device management and more.
The evolution to cloud native network functions and distributed cloud computing enables service providers to move beyond traditional connectivity-service models and opens new doors to adjacent industries.
How to effectively deploy edge computing
There are five interdependent key areas that have been identified by the standards, CSPs and analysists to be the most significant methods of defining and deploying an edge computing solution.
A footprint-flexible, efficient, automated infrastructure provides high reliability. For this to happen, the edge infrastructure needs to be deployed either on-premise at enterprises or in the CSP network, hosting both telco workloads and 3rd party/over the top applications with a limited local management system.
Orchestration should provide smart 3rd party/over the top workload placement and topology discovery, controlling which sites the 3rd party/over the top applications are deployed on, and how they’re configured.
To simplify the application developers’ interaction with the telecom network, the exposure solution should expose the APIs for the edge, as well as at the edge for telco applications, for consumption by 3rd party/over the top applications. By exposing information like user equipment and device location, use cases can be improved.
Routing data to the nearest edge location where the application is hosted helps meet the demand of the application – delivering a better customer experience. This process should be a simplified mechanism, such as distributed anchor or multiple sessions, aligned with standardized approach.
To enable termination at distributed sites, the user plane is critical. Through the deployment of a 3GPP-compliant, low footprint Packet Core user plane functions, including local LCM support, the solution becomes easy to install and manage.
Capturing the edge opportunity in three phases
- Focus on dedicated deployments on-premise
- Explore on-network deployments at Packet Core sites
- Integrate service orchestration with 5G Core
- Establish partnerships with cloud providers
Provide end-to-end service with defined service level agreements, in a self-service, automated way
Enable applications to interact with the network in advanced ways via orchestration and network exposure and easy to consume APIs
- Deep integration of compute in the network, blurring the line between the device, the edge of the network and the cloud
- A single unified, integrated execution environment for distributed applications, including both network functions and third-party applications.