Edge Computing – Building a Connected World
Ever noticed the growing number of screens around you?
We’re growing from a current 10-billion devices era to a 1-trillion devices era and we can already see a host of emerging platforms in use such as cloud, IoE, multimedia streaming and more. Imagine the magnitude of pressure this will put on our existing networks, that are designed on large, centralized cell networks that were built largely for voice and static data such as images and text.
This calls for a new breed of architecture that is able to process, compute and store various types of requests from end users – essentially, move from the era of Big Data to the era of Distributed Edge. Multi-access Edge Computing or MEC is the new buzzword today, and is becoming one of the most critical metrics of the IoE and 5G. From mobile networks to fixed line networks, WiFi, cable or internet service providers – any network that is serving the end users needs to shift to the Edge.
Laying the groundwork for 5G
As we move towards 5G, we can expect to build a more connected world with faster data, ultra low latency, and a wide range of connected devices including wearables, smart home appliances, automobiles and more. This means we need to prepare today to accommodate billions of connected devices.
MEC, therefore, helps create the ideal architecture to support these goals, while opening a gamut of revenue opportunities – whether it’s location based advertising or managing public safety in smart cities, driving autonomous cars or streaming any event, live.
Telcos today are embracing edge computing as it aligns well with their growth plans for the future. With MEC, they can work with infrastructure that provides more and more unique value services to users – whether it’s the B2C segment or the B2B segment. MEC will serve as the ultra network infrastructure of the future as it enables to:
- Reduce latency: Currently the latency in live streaming is 100s of milliseconds. With MEC, however, it can be reduced to a single digit, end to end – much below radio latency itself. So any request from users relating to video, data or location can be processed in less than 10 milliseconds from the edge.
- Enhance Quality: End users can expect higher quality services, particularly with respect to video streaming and IoT technology such as connected cars, enabled through the use of network slicing.
- Optimize network data: Slicing 5G networks would also optimize network performance with the ability to create on-demand virtual networks.The MEC server platform will be able to deliver real-time analytics and machine intelligence, resulting in decreased cost to the enterprise or service provider.
MEC is already in use right now, not just by telcos but also by large corporations like Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon. Each has their own initiative for MEC. Google, for instance is deploying YouTube servers while Facebook is promoting TIP (Telecom Infra Project), an initiative about virtualizing the Edge and processing all video and VR at the Edge of the network. Amazon, on the other hand, is deploying Green Grass application at the edge of telcos, though large scale 5G deployments, expected around 2020, are still a couple of years away.
There is no doubt that MEC is a powerful future-proof tool for network providers who are dealing with diminishing ARPU and increasing traffic loads today, and presents a unique opportunity for long-term growth.