Network compute fabric

Advancing digital transformation with ever-present service continuity

Network Compute Fabric

Network Compute Fabric is created by two major trends coming together – faster, more reliable connectivity and widespread availability of cloud services driven by virtualization. Network Compute Fabric evolves beyond edge computing to fuse connectivity and computing capabilities and create a unified entity for both.

What is the network compute fabric

The Network Compute Fabric integrates connectivity with real time compute and storage at the edge of the network, turning the network into a unified execution environment for distributed applications.

Future generations of networks will bring all physical things even closer to the compute domain. The network will act not only as a connector but also as a controller of physical systems, ranging from simple terminals to complex and performance-sensitive robot-control and augmented reality applications. The network will host computing intertwined with communication for the highest level of efficiency. This is what we call the Network Compute Fabric.

This integration of communication, computation, and content allows cross-domain innovation.

The Network Compute Fabric includes a set of capabilities that can transform the network from pure connectivity to an innovation platform.

Initial steps of the Network Compute Fabric are already happening with 5G and Edge use cases

Initial steps of the Network Compute Fabric are already happening with 5G and Edge use cases.

The network and third-party applications utilize the same fabric to target new businesses, offering:

  • performance benefits (bandwidth, latency, reliability) to these applications, and
  • low barrier of entry to developing highly distributed applications, parts of which may be in terminals.

Home, office, manufacturing, transportation, gaming, and education, could all be transformed by industry 4.0, AI to AI communication, XR collaboration, and context-aware user data.

Further convergence of mobility, the internet, cloud, and content will result in a system of interconnected, worldwide components with embedded computing and networking capabilities everywhere. This will act as one unified field with all capabilities for all possible use cases across all industry segments.


Unified ecosystems rely on exposure and federation across telco-IT ecosystem partners, like network and cloud providers, application developers, as well as device and equipment vendors.

The unified telco-IT ecosystem supports collaboration in a new ecosystem. If such tools for federation do not exist or are not in place, monopolies or single company maintained ecosystems will rule.

The Network Compute Fabric will be a highly distributed platform that runs applications across multiple administrative domains. This innovation platform will require intelligent and data-driven operations, seamlessly working across devices, networks, and cloud domains. An integrated DevOps toolchain will enable the appliance of similar development and operational methodologies across these domains. By separating orchestration from application functionality, the Network Compute Fabric will allow tailored optimization for different network domains without the need for application code change.

The unified execution environment will act as an operating system, providing fundamental functionalities and services on top of distributed and heterogeneous network, compute and storage assets. Evolving the ideas of serverless computing will facilitate the development and deployment of distributed applications on top of this infrastructure. The application has access to a compute service that always appears local, despite dynamic network changes or user/data mobility events. The unified execution environment will simplify the development of distributed applications by offering several capabilities.

The computational environment in the network compute fabric will be heterogeneous, which will increase with emerging computational hardware complementing traditional network equipment. One example is hardware acceleration technologies that provide compute and storage capabilities specialized for certain workload tasks, such as graphics processing units, Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA), and storage-class persistent memories.

By adopting tools and languages like OneAPI, developers will be able to write a single-source implementation of an algorithm that can run on different hardware choices. Selection of actual processing or memory/storage instance will be based on availability and performance requirements, making it easy for developers to create high-performance applications that can run anywhere.

The Network Compute Fabric also opens up for extensive in-network computation. Modern transport networking equipment will no longer be limited to packet transport but also provide programmable compute capabilities. This will, in turn, open up new divisions of application functionality where some tasks, such as QoS, scheduling, policing, encoding, and recoding can be performed directly in the data plane.

The Network Compute Fabric will enable efficiency gains through transparent shortcuts inside the infrastructure between application components and the network and compute platform. Once applications are collocated with network functions on the same host, rack, or cluster, parts of the network and operating system stacks can be bypassed. Depending on the situation, different technologies can be used, such as modern interconnect technologies and protocols in combination with fast replication services like Derecho.

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