US telecommunications giant Verizon has employed the use of edge computing in a successful bid to slash 5G latency in half.
5G is set to cut latency over its predecessors, meaning reduced time for information to make a roundtrip. This will open a range of possibilities for things such as video games, real-time VR, and even remote surgeries.
Verizon engineers installed Multi-access Edge Compute (MEC) equipment and MEC platform software into a network facility closer to the network edge.
Reducing the distance between a wireless device and the compute infrastructure with which that device’s apps are interacting can increase performance.
For their test, Verizon used a facial recognition application. By analysing the data at the edge of the network, individuals were identified twice as fast compared to a test using a traditional centralised data centre.
Adam Koeppe, Verizon’s Senior Vice President for Network Planning, said:
“For applications requiring low latency, sending huge quantities of data to and from the centralised cloud is no longer practical. Data processing and management will need to take place much closer to the user.
MEC moves application processing, storage, and management to the Radio Access Network’s edge to deliver the desired low latency experiences, thereby enabling new disruptive technologies.
This shift in where the application processing occurs, the inherent capabilities of 5G to move data more efficiently, and our use of millimetre wave spectrum is a game-changer when it comes to the edge computing capabilities we can provide.”
Verizon’s trial was conducted at their 5G testbed in Houston, Texas. Unfortunately, the operator hasn’t provided the exact latency results.
Rival networks have also begun testing edge computing. AT&T recently opened an edge computing testbed in Silicon Valley and partnered with The Linux Foundation on a project to create the software stack to support it.
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