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Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC)

 
Interlaken_DSC_0288
(Interlaken, Switzerland - Alvin Wei-Cheng Wong)


- 5G Edge Computing Infrastructure

With the emergence of new technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, autonomous cars, drones and IOT with smart cities, data is increasingly being produced at the user end of the network. These use cases demand real-time processing and communication between distributed endpoints, creating the need for efficient processing at the network edge.

Edge computing refers to the infrastructure that processes data as close as possible to the source. In a 5G mobile network, the edge is the network that is located as close as possible to the end-user, it can be considered the device itself and the wireless antennas or Base Stations. 

The Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) will be an essential building block for 5G as it can help build power at the mobile network edge. This platform will offer, computing and storage, running applications through APIs, and even help process radio network capabilities, such as solving network congestion. With this type of power at the hands of the telecoms and Internet providers, it is likely that the 5G wireless infrastructure at the edge, will be like mini-Data Centers. But that power at the edge can only work with the improved mobile broadband characteristics of 5G. 

MEC can be implemented both indoors and outside depending on the access technology. With respect to the outdoors, macro cells place computing and virtualization capabilities into radio network elements. By mixing applications with radio equipment, operators can provide new network features quickly and boost over-the-top (OTT) services. The architecture can improve the efficiency of the infrastructure and be integrated with radio equipment. 

With respect to indoor areas, like Wi-Fi and 3G/4G access points, edge clouds can serve as gateways, which run several services applicable to the specific region in which they are installed. Examples include machine-to-machine situations where MEC services can monitor weather conditions; retailers in malls that would like to communicate to shoppers on their mobile devices; and crowded areas like airports, movie theaters and stadiums where MEC applications can guide users to destinations.

 

- A New Network Architecture

MEC is a network architecture that enables IT and cloud-computing capabilities at the edge of the cellular network. The main idea behind the architecture is to reduce network congestion and improve applications by performing related processing tasks closer to the end user. The technology is designed to be implemented at cellular base stations, providing rapid deployment of applications and other customer services.

The architecture is comprised of three essential elements: the hosting infrastructure management system, the application platform management system and the application management system. The hosting infrastructure management system consists of a virtualization manager and virtualization layer. The application platform system provides traffic control, radio access network (RAN) information services, communication services and service registry. The application management system is a virtualized machine for applications.

 


[More to come ...]

 

 

 

 

 

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