Location, location, location. Multiple-access Edge Computing (MEC) and edge computing in general are gaining acceptance in both fixed and mobile networks as we increasingly realize the power of location in wireless networks – and especially in virtualized networks.
In recent years, there has been a strong push to move everything to a centralized cloud, enabled by virtualization and driven by the need to cut costs, reduce the time to market for new services, and increase flexibility. In the process, we lost sight of how important the location of functionality is to performance, efficient use of network resources and subscriber experience.
MEC and other edge computing initiatives address the need to place processing and storage where appropriate, whether a central location or the network’s edge, depending on factors such as applications, traffic type, network conditions, subscriber profile, and operator’s preference.
In this report, we explore the evolution of the edge’s role in fixed and mobile networks and how it may impact network optimization, value-chain roles and relationships, business models, usage models and, ultimately, the subscriber experience.
• Mobile edge computing takes us beyond the centralized cloud, to a hybrid virtualized model, which combine centralized and distributed processing, storage, and control
• Operators can leverage network flexibility to find the best edge location to maximize QoE and optimize network resource utilization, the main drivers for edge computing
• MEC is not for mobile networks only. Other fixed networks including Wi-Fi can use the MEC framework, and share it with mobile networks
• There are multiple network edge locations where it makes sense to deploy MEC servers or other edge hosts. Evaluating the tradeoffs that these locations offer is crucial for successful edge computing deployments
• New business models will accelerate move to the edge, with an increased role of venue owners, enterprises, and application and content providers
• Application and content optimization at the edge encourages a tighter cooperation of mobile operators with application and content providers