Mobile’s Biggest Promises Will Hinge on an Effective Edge Cloud

Securing 5G’s future means offering great performance, everywhere

You’ve seen the charts. The ones companies like OpenSignal diligently put together to show that even though all the big mobile carriers have long reached 4G maturity, inconsistency in service performance defiantly (and glaringly) remains.

In the U.S. alone, on a 100 point scale, OpenSignal found a ten point gap in mobile video quality between the first and last ranked carriers. Worse, everyone earned a “fair” rating. Consumers will still tolerate bad mobile video experiences, but this kind of performance just won’t cut it in an industry that is screaming from the rooftops that it is ready to support IoT, mobile gaming, connected vehicle, autonomous cars and smart cities.

Let’s break down the two-fold challenge here: 1) mobile operators do not offer consistent quality from one carrier to the next; and 2) if mature networks can’t support basic video delivery, they’re not ready for much more demanding, latency-sensitive applications. Edge clouds are the answer. The best deployment approach? Well, that’s somewhat tricky, as business models need to be weighed against technical capabilities of the key stakeholders involved.

5G making lots of promises, but consistent performance not one of them

What do all of the most talked about emerging mobile services and applications have in common? They require better performance than networks can offer on their own. Maybe it’s low latency – better than 4G’s 60 ms roundtrip on uncongested networks. Or perhaps hefty processing power. To be sure, this isn’t best-effort mobile video – the stakes can often be mission critical. So what happens when IoT devices deployed across a region span cells with widely varying levels of service? Or an autonomous vehicle hands off to a cell that doesn’t offer the same performance as the previous cell? Or when a smart city deployment falls back on a redundant mobile network that doesn’t deliver the same data crunching capabilities to keep the city running smoothly?

5G allegedly solves some of these challenges with network slicing. But not all slices will be created equal. One operator’s idea of the level of performance needed to support mobile gaming might be different from another’s. Mobile networks will need an equalizer to facilitate app and service providers: an edge cloud.

Read the full article on The Fast Mode.