Edge computing - a must for 5G success
5G and edge computing are opening a world of new revenue opportunities across manufacturing, gaming and entertainment, healthcare, retail and more. How can communications service providers (CSPs) gain an edge ahead of competitors? Find out everything you need to know below.
What is edge computing?
Edge computing, also referred to as Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) or Multi-Access Edge Computing, is a distributed framework which brings processing and storage resources for applications closer to where data is generated or consumed.
By keeping the compute capacity close to the users, devices or data sources, edge solutions deliver benefits such as low latency, high bandwidth, device processing and data offload, improving the performance, security, operating cost and reliability of applications and services.
The infrastructure for edge computing is hosted by different types of service providers. Typically, the ‘edge’ where execution resources are provided is within or at the boundary of an access network. However, they can also be placed on-premise at enterprises, for example inside factory buildings, in homes or with the help of a wireless router in vehicles such as trains, planes, ambulances and private cars.
Some edge use cases require applications to be deployed across multiple sites. In such cases, a distributed cloud can be helpful, acting as an execution environment for applications over multiple sites, including connectivity managed as one solution.
CSPs are in a great position to capture the edge opportunity
Today’s CSPs are ideally positioned to deliver intelligent traffic routing from the mobile network to the optimal location of the application, as well as 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 CSPs to move beyond traditional connectivity-service models and opens new doors to adjacent industries.
Edge strategies in 2023: which is right for you?
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.
Hear from experts about edge computing
Take a deep dive into edge computing
This Ericsson Technology Review article explains our vision of the network compute fabric – the operating system for 6G – including an overview of its core components and features.