What is mobile edge computing?
Bringing intelligence closer to the end user, what is mobile edge computing and why is it important?
Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) is a network architecture concept that offers application developers and content providers cloud-computing capabilities and an IT service environment at the edge of the mobile network.
This environment is characterized by ultra-low latency and high bandwidth as well as real-time access to radio network information.Through this network architecture, network congestion can be reduced by running applications and performing related processing tasks closer to the cellular customer.
The mobile edge computing server can be deployed at the LTE macro base station, at the 3G Radio Network Controller (RNC) and at a multi-technology cell aggregation site. The multi-technology cell aggregation site can be located indoors within an enterprise (a hospital or a large corporate HQ), or indoors/outdoors in a large public building or arena (a shopping mall, a stadium) to control a number of local, multi-technology access points, providing radio coverage to the premises.
The MEC concept, which combines elements of information technology and telecoms networking also allows mobile telcos to open their radio access network (RAN) to authorized third-parties, such as application developers and content providers.
The technical standards for mobile-edge computing are being developed by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). “Mobile edge computing creates a new value chain and an energized ecosystem, based on innovation and business value where mobile operators, application developers, content providers, OTT players, network equipment vendors, IT and middleware providers can benefit from greater cooperation,” says Nurit Sprecher, Convenor of the ETSI’s Industry Specification Group.
By using mobile edge computing technology, a mobile telephony operator can efficiently deploy new services for specific customers or classes of customers. MEC also collects data about storage, network bandwidth and CPU utilization for each application or service deployed by a third party. Application developers and content providers can take advantage of close proximity to cellular subscribers and real-time RAN information.
Mobile edge computing will enable new vertical business segments and services for consumers and enterprise customers. According to the ETSI, some of this network achitecture’s use cases include video analytics, location services, Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality, optimized local content distribution and data caching.
New MEC industry standards and deployment of MEC platforms will act as enablers for new revenue streams to operators, vendors and third-parties, according to the ETSI.
The initiative aims to benefit a number of entities within the value chain, including mobile operators, application developers, Over the Top (OTT) players, Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), telecom equipment vendors, IT platform vendors, system integrators, and technology providers.
The MEC initiative is an Industry Specification Group (ISG) within ETSI which has been set up by Huawei, IBM, Intel, Nokia Networks, NTT DOCOMO and Vodafone.
The main goal of this group is to create a standardized, open environment which will allow the integration of applications from vendors, service providers, and third-parties across multi-vendor Mobile-edge Computing platforms.