Multi-Access Edge Computing | Why is it the Future?
You are watching the nail-biting finale of the football world cup live. The atmosphere is electric, and suddenly you get an urgent phone call. You come back to a stadium gone wild as your favorite team just scored a goal. But you missed it! So, what do you do? Well, exciting new immersive applications like 360-degree virtual reality, time-sliced video, and omni-view broadcasting are but a few ways to ensure you don’t miss a moment. So, what made this possible? How did one get access to real-time information so quickly and in such an immersive manner? How was it ensured that even a few moments of the thrilling game were not lost, rather enhanced? MEC (Multi-Access Edge Computing), also popularly known as Mobile Edge Computing, is what made this, and so much more, possible.
What is Mobile Edge Computing (MEC)?
MEC essentially means building compute and storage resources at the edge of the mobile or enterprise network, not some distant centralized core or cloud infrastructures. It allows the computation of internet and data services’ traffic with the help of localized cloud services at the network edge. Edge computing analyzes, processes and stores the data transmitting through it before sending it further. Lower the distance between the end-user and the cloud or network device, quicker and more efficient is the data transmission. Significantly reducing latency MEC brings technology closer to the end-user and provides both an IT service environment and cloud computing services to help enable real or near real-time processing of data. It enables applications and services requiring unique connectivity capabilities, such as ultra-low latency. While also allowing content, services, and applications to be delivered faster by increasing their responsiveness. With innovative and disruptive applications like autonomous vehicles, AR/VR applications, virtual reality games as some of the use cases driving the innovation, MEC is the way high-bandwidth and low-latency applications will be delivered in the future.
Key Attributes of Mobile Edge Computing
Close Proximity – located close to the source of information, edge captures critical information for processing and analytics, reducing the need to transfer data to core locations.
Ultra-Low Latency – since located so close to the source, the lag-time is minimal, in milliseconds. This helps in faster response and enhanced user experience and will open doors to an entirely new generation of business possibilities
Localized Data – Businesses can act on the data right at the source, leading to improved performance, responsive applications, and improved security
Real-Time – allows information to be processed in real or near real-time, making it ideal for applications that require real-time decisions and outcomes
Uninterrupted Operations – being localized, edge applications can be run independently from the rest of the network, even if disconnected from the core network
Interoperability – MEC can work with existing infrastructure, with minimal enhancements, and does not require applications to be migrated to the new environment, making development and deployment easy and efficient
Enhances IoT Potential – significantly lowers the energy and battery demands in IoT devices as with MEC, the processing moves to the cloud. It allows for rapid expansion of IoT
New Revenue Streams – opens up a world of opportunities by unlocking unprecedented use cases and services
Reduced cloud data storage and transport costs
Efficient use of network bandwidth and reduce network congestion
Scales up compliance and security
MEC – Current Use Cases & Potential
Multi-access edge computing emerged in the wireless domain several years ago. It was conceptualized to add value to the large infrastructure telecom network operators already had in place. MEC is an emerging technology that promotes various growth features like wireless computing and devices to enhance and simplify user experiences. It is currently being used by various businesses to enhance capabilities and improve customer engagement & network environment. Customer services, AR/VR, commercial operations, industrial IoT, emergency services, and connected cars are some of the existing use cases of MEC. We will explore these use cases in detail in an upcoming post.
MEC can be deployed in a 4G network and used as a launching pad for 5G if one decides to migrate later. This is a huge brownie point because it allows mobile service providers to offer revenue-generating edge services like VR gaming. Also, low latency enterprise applications like smart building, smart city, smart manufacturing, smart logistics, entertainment, transportation, et al., without investing in a complete 5G makeover. With the flexibility to switch to 5G anytime, and unlock innumerable use cases.
MEC and 5G Connect
While MEC technically doesn’t require 5G architecture for deployment, most experts predict that MEC’s true potential will be unlocked once 5G goes mainstream.
Projected as one of the founding pillars of 5G, MEC will be a prime catalyst in helping realize the full potential of 5G, along with other virtualization solutions such as network functions virtualization and software-defined networking. Not only is edge computing in telecommunications a technical enabler for the network’s key performance indicators, but it also plays an intrinsic role in the transformation of the telecommunications business, as it unlocks the network edge for new and dynamic applications and services, including from third parties.
Next generations networks are not just about speed. They are also about reimagining what’s possible, and MEC is that transforming agent that will help networks unlock unheard-of business opportunities while delivering unmatched user experiences quickly and effectively. MEC is the future. Are you ready for it?
Want to know how multi-access edge computing can add value to your business but are hesitant to take it on? Get in touch. Amantya’s end-to-end services will help you design, implement and manage MEC solutions that integrate seamlessly with your existing mobile core network, 4G or 5G.
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