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What is Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC)

Multi-Access Edge Computing


As technologies keep changing and evolving to meet the demands of the marketplace, you may have noticed that mobile edge computing is transforming into multi-access edge computing (MEC) without losing its nickname. This change was necessary as the potential benefits of cutting edge technology expanded beyond mobile technologies to include WiFi and landline access.

ETSI defines Multiple-Access Edge Computing (MEC) as a cloud-based IT service environment on the Edge of the network. It fulfils all requirements by offering extremely low latency, high bandwidth and allowing applications to use information from the wireless network in real-time.

MEC offers a new ecosystem and a new value chain. Operators can open their Radio Contact Network (RAN) to authorized third parties and thus quickly and flexibly provide flexible applications and services for mobile network subscribers, companies and industries.

Currently, MEC is developed exclusively from a software point of view, without going through the hardware, as it is based on virtualization technology. The aim is to explain a set of APIs that can be used to implement virtual network functions (VNF) that respond to all of the requirements of a mobile communications network, including security, orchestration, and portability, and leave the actual implementation to the vendor.

The ultimate goal of MEC is to provide an optimized computing infrastructure with low latency and delivery agility that can be scaled horizontally or vertically as needed. With MEC, we can bring services and content closer to end-users and achieve more QoE and QoS, while reducing backhaul congestion and optimizing gateway interconnectivity costs.

Benefits of MEC

  • Real-time – Lowest robust end-to-end application latency.
  • Caching and video analysis: real-time information of the data at the time of the acquisition, minimum bandwidth for entry into the cloud.
  • Private – Local communication with private networks for presentation, isolation, and safety.
  • Interactive: Full transaction rate between the device and the local cloud.
  • Distributed: the quick introduction of the network and other functions in the dynamic RAN filter rules.
  • It is compatible with IoT and M2M claims.
  • Application virtualization and coordination between cloud and Edge.

Use Cases

Business applications include asset tracking, video surveillance and analysis, and local voice and data routing. If a company wants to provide connectivity directly from the RAN for security reasons. The Edge extends its unique functions for executing these processes. Additionally, the vCPE combo advantage offers an excellent location for implementing branch office connectivity and other business services. Data protection can also manage through a third-party application, e.g. B. a medical certificate that anonymizes personal health information (PHI) and stores it in the cloud.

Real-time: More and more applications are running in real-time and do not tolerate latency in the order of ten milliseconds. Applications are also sensitive to jitter (the variation in latency). AR/VR-networked cars, tactile Internet, Industry 4.0 and smart cities are other cases that are included in the real-time segment.

Immersive: The bandwidth available from the MEC for the UE / CPE creates a wide range of new immersive applications. Premium HD, 360 ° and 4K videos can cached and optimized at the Edge. Network-level metrics (round-trip delay, packet loss, etc.) can be improved by 30-60%. Providing multimedia content where videos can specifically benefit from caching and transcoding.

Cost reduction: Video surveillance, face recognition, vehicle license plate recognition, IoT gateway, big data analysis. For example, it is expensive to send all video streams directly from the camera to the cloud. In such a case, Edge can perform motion detection and threat detection and only send the relevant frames to the cloud. For example, in an IoT gateway where the available bandwidth is not that high. Sending billions of events to the cloud would  costly and inefficient compared to being treated on the Edge of an IoT gateway.

Standalone: Some of the best use cases are cruise ships, planes, mines, trains with movies and WiFi onboard. If cloud connectivity is available, data can be synchronized from these locations, e.g. B. when the plane lands or the ship docks.

In places where Edge Edge can offer local services like stadiums, airports, concerts, universities or other smart buildings. Viewers can take the same action from different perspectives depending on their personal preferences. During a game, for example, the app could enable stadium spectators to view a game from multiple angles. And at the same time, offer them personalized high-resolution content without overloading the upstream bandwidth. It would be impractical to provide the same services from the cloud.

As part of retail services, the Edge can, among other things, offer ad delivery and footprint analysis in shopping centres.

IoT applications are Defined in Two Categories:

Massive IoT connectivity where MEC optimizes device connectivity to the core network to reduce overhead communication and improve response time.

Very responsive applications where low latency required. This includes switching intelligent power grids and alternative power supplies as well as fault detection applications.

Critical Communication: This category contains multiple applications in different sectors such as traffic safety and control systems. Precision agriculture with autonomous vehicles and real-time analytics, industrial IoT applications to monitor and control time-critical processes. Automotive applications related to hazard warnings and independent cooperatives. Driving, sanitary applications that require high responsiveness.

Analytics: Edge technology gathers a significant amount of data from all of your networks and connections that can be invaluable for machine learning, automation, and big data applications.

Compliance: Compliance issues range from copyright enforcement to the geographic location of the data. During a concert, sporting event, or play, copyright enforcement comes into play. The audience at such circumstances does not have the right to broadcast videos of the program over the Internet or their mobile phones. An Edge app helps in such cases by disabling upstream streaming or lowering the resolution to create a streaming complaint.

Security: With edge computing, applications like DDOS and cybersecurity can prevent these types of attacks and bring the security realm closer to the source.

NFV: Network Functional Virtualization (NFV) is not a simple peripheral application. However, Virtual Access Networking (VNF) functions such as vRAN, C-RAN, vCMTS, and vOLT must run in the same location as edge computing.

Key Challenge

Standard Protocol: As a newer technology, MEC evolves in different phases of implementation. The requirements require standardization resulting from the collaboration between industry and researchers on a common platform.

Efficient Implementation: A practical MEC implementation minimizes latencies through optimal use. However, it is difficult to optimize the use of the spectrum depending on the complex components of the system.

User Mobility and Transparency: Providing non-stop services for the continually moving customer is a significant challenge in the MEC environment with transparent process migration and platform heterogeneity.

Availability and Security: The constant availability of services and the protection of resources generally depend on the capacity of the server and the type of wireless access as well as physical measures.

Data Management: The data management functions required include data normalization, data filtering and querying, integration with edge analytics, data aggregation or abstract metadata.

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