Home | Reports | Technical Documents | Tech-Blog | One-Shot Gallery | Korea ICT News | Korea Communication Market Data | List of Contributors | Become a Contributor |    
 
 
Section 5G 4G LTE C-RAN/Fronthaul Gigabit Internet IPTV/Video Streaming IoT SDN/NFV Wi-Fi KT SK Telecom LG U+ Network Protocol Samsung   Korean Vendors
 
CHANNELS     HFR    |  Mobile Fronthaul Solution  |  Carrier Ethernet Solution  | Resources        
MEC - Are we getting closer?!
August 16, 2018 | By Karim Rabie @ Saudi Telecom Company
Online viewer:
Comments (1)
6

We are pleased to share with you all an interesting article contributed by Karim Rabie who is Mobile Core Consultant | Telco Cloud Advisor | OPNFV EUAG Member.

 
 

Karim Rabie

Senior PS Core / EPC Consultant at Saudi Telecom Company

 

 

All Articles by Karim Rabie

 
     
  How to contribute your article to Netmanias.com !  
     
  List of Contributors  

 

 

     
 

Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) or formerly Mobile Edge Computing is a term that has been trending a lot in the last years, especially last year with 5G approaching commercial stage. The buzz word is commonly used to describe the concept of pushing the service to the network edge clashing with other terms such as Fog Computing and confusion has spread with linking the technology with 5G and sometimes with infrastructure technologies such as containers. In this article I am bringing some facts, posting some questions and amending that with my insights trying to demystify the confusion about the technology from Telco perspective.

 

The most common definition and framework for MEC is coming from ETSI, European Telecommunications Standardization Institute as part of MEC Industry Specification Group (ISG) work that started on Dec 2014. Below is the ETSI definition.

 

Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) offers

application developers and content providers

cloud-computing capabilities and an IT

service environment at the edge of the

network. This environment is characterized by

ultra-low latency and high bandwidth as well

as real-time access to radio network

information that can be leveraged

by applications.


The definition drew a roadmap for Telco Operators to provide Cloud Computing Capabilities on the edge either with IaaS/PaaS models. So Let's stop here and point out that MEC concept is not coupled with 5G although it can play an important role to fulfill the Ultra Latency and Gigabit Experience requirements of 5G. ETSI MEC initially provided a framework and an interesting reference architecture shown below.

 


The specification was released in Mar 2016 and raised a lot of question marks among the mobile operators and the unclarity from vendors by that time doubled the confusion. I am listing some of the common questions and I am enclosing my opinion for each point.

 

■ What is the MEC Host position in the Network? Can it reside it BTSs? Regional DCs? Can it reside in end user premises?

 

MEC is believed to be one hop away from the End User. However, Nothing explicitly say that it should reside on BTS or in an Edge DC. So let's agree it is not touching the end device or the IoT Device, It is a one hop towards the Network and that can match the BTS and the Edge DC as well.

 

■ What is the mechanism to place the Data plane for Network function at the edge?

 

With CUPS, It is now possible and standard to deploy the User Plane function separately in the Edge. I'd say that 5G UPF together with SGW/PGW-U fit perfectly there. Also, with the proper Service/Resources Orchestration, some VNFs can be deployed on the edge such as the Gi-LAN functions and Value Added Services (Caching, FWs, Parental Control, etc).

 

■ What are the services (MEC App) that can run on MEC host and do they need special infrastructure requirements?

 

These can be 3rd party Applications developed by 3rd party Developers. So, basically Operator can provide IaaS/PaaS for those companies/developers to develop special purpose applications that requires the MEC characteristics such as the ultra Latency. VR/AR, IoT, & V2I applications can be an example.

 

For the Infrastructure, most probably these apps will be based on Containers. So, Operator must avail an environments that can host and "manage" containers.

 

■ How VIM (for example Openstack) can manage remote infrastructure environments that might be hundreds or thousands of DCs?

 

Not Clear.. There are some Opensource initiatives, Groups, & Forums but nothing solid till now. Two Options are trending

 

1. Centralized Management - All OpenStack control components are deployed in the main DC only while agents and message busses spans over all DCs.
 

2. Distributed Management - Each DC has the whole OpenStack control components deployed
 

■ What kind of infrastructure should be deployed at the edge?

 

It is believed that it should be light, small footprint, and cheap Infrastructure with Low power consumption and relatively good computational power. White boxes sound like a solution here.

 

■ Will the workloads run over VMs? Containers? Bare Metal?

 

  For some reasons, Containers are always brought to the table in the context of MEC Workloads. However, This can be anything. I am bringing the 2017 Edge Computing and MEC Report Survey Results – SDx Central. The question was "What will be used to manage Edge Platforms" and the respondents were a group from Vendors and Operators.

 

■ Is the MEC one of the 5G ingredients?

 

It can be but is it a mandatory brick? I don't think so. The 5G ITU Requirements are very clear, If an operator manage to provide the 5G Services/Characteristics to the end user without deploying the ETSI Concept of MEC then fine. They are not closely coupled.

 

■ How the MEC is related or fits into ETSI NFV Reference Architecture?

 

This is one of the interesting recent ETSI MEC Specifications published GR MEC 017 Mobile Edge Computing (MEC); Deployment of Mobile Edge Computing in an NFV environment. The interesting thing that new Network Elements has been introduced such as MEAO, Multi-Access Edge Application Orchestrator and this has raised many question marks about the functionality of such orchestrator and how it integrates with the NFVO.

 


MEAO is supposed to manage the onboarding of Mobile Edge Application packages, Resources orchestration across Edge DCs, selecting the appropriate Mobile Edge Hosts for application instantiation, and triggering application instantiation, termination, & relocation with the below reference points.

 

  • Mm1 reference point between the mobile edge orchestrator and the OSS is used for triggering the instantiation and the termination of mobile edge applications in the mobile edge system.
     
  • Mm9 reference point between the user application lifecycle management proxy and the mobile edge orchestrator of the mobile edge system is used to manage mobile edge applications requested by UE application.
  • Mm3 reference point between the mobile edge orchestrator and the mobile edge platform manager is used for the management of the application lifecycle, application rules and requirements and keeping track of available mobile edge services.
  • Mv1 reference point connects the MEAO and the NFVO. It is related to the Os-Ma-nfvo reference point, as defined in ETSI NFV and still under evaluation.

It is very early to see such integrations commercially. Like any other standard or opensource initiatives, It needs the community support and buy-in.

 

I will stop here to get your comments, queries and insights and I will be happy to discuss it further in the comments section.

 
     
Bruno 2018-09-17 00:13:16

Telco architectures have been changing so much in the last few years, and as it seems, soon everything will be virtualized.

However, I think we are not going to see MEC mixed in with 5G. My safer guess would be 5.5G.

Thank you for visiting Netmanias! Please leave your comment if you have a question or suggestion.
View All (799)
4.5G (1) 5G (82) AI (6) AR (1) ARP (3) AT&T (1) Akamai (1) Authentication (5) Big Data (2) Blockchain (3) C-RAN/Fronthaul (17) CDN (4) CPRI (4) Carrier Ethernet (3) China (1) China Mobile (2) Cisco (1) Cloud (5) CoMP (6) Connected Car (4) DHCP (5) Edge Computing (1) Ericsson (2) FTTH (6) GSLB (1) GiGAtopia (2) Gigabit Internet (19) Google (7) Google Global Cache (3) HLS (5) HSDPA (2) HTTP Adaptive Streaming (5) Handover (1) Huawei (1) IEEE 802.1 (1) IP Routing (7) IPTV (21) IoST (3) IoT (54) KT (41) Korea (19) Korea ICT Market (1) Korea ICT Service (13) Korea ICT Vendor (1) LG U+ (18) LSC (1) LTE (78) LTE-A (16) LTE-B (1) LTE-H (2) LTE-M (3) LTE-U (4) LoRa (7) MEC (3) MPLS (1) MPTCP (3) MWC 2015 (8) NB-IoT (6) Netflix (2) Network Protocol (20) Network Slicing (4) New Radio (9) Nokia (1) OSPF (2) OTT (3) PCRF (1) Platform (2) QoS (3) RCS (4) Roaming (1) SD-WAN (15) SDN/NFV (66) SIM (1) SK Broadband (2) SK Telecom (33) Samsung (5) Security (16) Self-Driving (1) Small Cell (2) Spectrum Sharing (2) Switching (6) TAU (2) UHD (5) VR (2) Video Streaming (12) VoLTE (8) VoWiFi (2) Wi-Fi (29) YouTube (6) blockchain (1) eICIC (1) eMBMS (1) iBeacon (1) security (1) telecoin (1) uCPE (2)
Password confirmation
Please enter your registered comment password.
Password