Multi-access Edge Computing and 5G Network

The fourth-generation (4G) LTE networks can't match the speed, capacity, or latency of the fifth-generation (5G) wireless networks. 5G is among the strongest technologies ever created. In order to benefit from 5G's speed and latency in today's hyper-connected world, processors must be placed near the mobile edge network. MEC is useful in this situation.

Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC)

MEC is an architecture of a network that offers cloud computing capacities and an IT environment at the network's edge. The data is processed, stored, and analyzed at the network edge. The advantages of MEC include decreased latency, effective network operations & service delivery to the end-user, and consequently, improved customer experience because the acquired data is processed closer to the client.

Multi-access edge computing is frequently referred to as "mobile edge computing," which corresponds to an earlier, more specific meaning of the term.

The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) explains that this feature "uniquely permits software applications to tap into local content and real-time information on local-access network circumstances." MEC also makes it possible to put applications and services "on top" of mobile network components. New vertical business segments and services for consumers and enterprise clients will benefit from multi-access edge computing.

Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) Worldwide Market

KBV Research projects that the Global Multi-access Edge Computing Global will develop at a market growth rate of 39.1% CAGR from 2021 to 2027, reaching a value of $16.7 billion. The adoption of multi-access edge computing technology is being driven by the demand for quicker decision-making and the collection of massive amounts of data in sectors like data centers, manufacturing, logistics, transportation, and IT and telecom.

An Effective Combination of MEC and 5G

A game-changer for MEC is the 5G Core Network (5GC). Several new features for mobile edge computing are included in 3GPP Release 16, including:

Edge computing and 5G work together to open up a variety of new application cases for a variety of sectors. AI and ML algorithms work better because sensors can interpret data more quickly. Near-real-time analytical intelligence can be used to boost operational efficiencies because 5G enables more connections to operate at once. The widespread implementation of the 5G+MEC concept has been awaiting the rollout of 5G networks. Partnership arrangements between cloud and network owners will flourish once 5G networks are fully established, and apps will move from the cloud to MEC.

Operator Challenges in 5G and MEC Node Deployment

Mobile carriers have mostly incorporated digital transformation within the existing operations and services today. Changing from 4G to 5G, moving hardware to the cloud, migrating from IPv4 to IPv6, etc. However, amid today's fierce market rivalry, their ability to successfully traverse these adjustments to offer a smooth subscriber experience and cutting-edge services will determine their organization's success.

Mobile network operators must take into account the following issues and difficulties as they roll out 5G and MEC nodes:

How to Get Low Latency Levels

Subscribers will experience Low Latency levels if MEC is implemented within the current network architecture. Choosing the network's "edge" presents a challenge for the operators. The levels of latency decrease the closer the distribution sites are to the subscriber. The edge must be moved very close to the customers in order to provide mission- and time-critical services like telemedicine and linked vehicles.

Multi-Access Edge Compute Node Activities

The number of nodes to deploy at the edge and the functions to allocate to them are two difficult decisions an operator must make. Should they be used as VMs, containers, or hardware?

Power and Space Limitations

Low latency is one of the major advantages of using the edge, but MEC typically comes with a number of power and space limitations. In a 4G network, for instance, each node has 10–12 devices from several suppliers. Therefore, if an operator decides to keep 1000 nodes, there will be at least 10,000 devices. Additionally, these nodes will use the proper high power if they are virtualized via MEC. MEC uses a lot of power as a result.

5G Security Issues

Compared to what cloud computing or 5G can do independently, MEC and 5G could help firms enter a variety of industries and use cases. However, there is one particularly special issue with 5G MEC security to take into account: Edge computing, in most cases, resembles a data center that has been minimized, and minimization frequently entails the removal or reduction of security safeguards to reduce the cost of the edge facility. MEC could make the network more susceptible to hackers and attacks because the nodes and their data (which may contain crucial credentials) are kep, nearby end users.

Low OPEX and High CAPEX

By matching network investment with suitable income prospects, 5G enables operators to supply scaling on-demand. A reasonable CAPEX investment per node is needed to size and scale MEC for deployment at the edge. Customers need a specific degree of QoS, which necessitates real-time servicing and maintenance of every node. The volume and characteristics of traffic vary between each node.

MEC Infrastructure Set-Up

It was necessary to engineer and automate thousands of network nodes to implement MEC. This required the engineer to plan, configure, deploy, launch, monitor, and maintain. Since the current network relies on manual operations, the automation setup could be difficult to implement at first and be a time-consuming undertaking.

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