Future 5G performance is determined by today’s mobile edge.

We’ve all been hearing about 5G for what seems like a long time. Nonetheless, we haven’t fully realized the potential of 5G. Even today, the major mobile carriers tout their ability to provide 5G connectivity to wireless networks across the United States. Simultaneously, consumers and companies are eagerly anticipating the next blockbuster apps and services that will bring a quantum leap in performance, efficiency, and experience.

Actual 5G speeds rely heavily on mobile edge computing. This ensures that wireless carriers’ applications are faster and more responsive. Think about multi-player gaming. Without local traffic packets, carriers can’t offer consistent performance to all users. If a user has a Verizon phone and another an AT&T one, their packets might be miles apart. This distance causes latency, jitter, and a poor gaming experience. Gaming developers seek 5G networks that maintain packet flow in the same city. Thus, the network and application work in tandem. Only then can games deliver consistent, immersive experiences for wireless users.

The Four Critical 5G Components

In actuality, 5G’s promise of delivering such experiences is still some years away. While carriers are making progress, there is still a long way to go before they can install real standalone 5G networks. To get there, four important components of mobile edge computing must be deployed:

  • Using a full-frequency, three-spectrum-band layer cake from cell towers to devices to weave together low, mid, and high frequencies. The carriers are currently around 25% of the way through this phase of the procedure.
  • Virtualized network core re-architecting from 4G to 5G. This will change the cores from a centralized design to one with a reduced number of control points disaggregated into user-plane locations.
  • Virtualizing radio access networks so that cell towers in a specific zone can share resources during peak user activity. This eliminates the need to size each individual tower for peak traffic, as is the case with 4G now.
  • Creating open networks in which software operates as a service on commodity hardware and allows apps to plug directly into networks. This technology, which is similar to the internet in terms of aggregation sites, allows mobile users to use edge computing at cell tower locations from a more convenient position.

Once all four components are in place, carriers’ wireless networks will accommodate millions of IP addresses in each cell zone while providing consumers with 1-gigabit speeds, latency under 10 milliseconds, and very low jitter. That is what mobile edge computing is all about, and it will result in drastically different experiences in gaming, ecommerce, financial trading, and virtually any other mobile contact.

Cloud Provider Data Centers Also Play an Important Role

Mobile edge computing has a high initial capital investment cost—hundreds of billions of dollars. Even if carriers invest in true 5G, they will still require an ecosystem of software developers, SaaS firms, and hardware manufacturers to produce the next generation of applications and devices that can take use of a 5G network’s performance potential. Clearly, this is a major undertaking. Carriers are not the only significant participants in the delivery of 5G. There are both public and private cloud services to consider. To provide mobile edge computing infrastructure for creating, deploying, and expanding low-latency, 5G-friendly applications, their data centers must incorporate computation and storage services into 5G networks.

Although 5G and mobile edge computing are disaggregated by definition, applications and their data all end up in the data center. To bring wireless computing to end users, cloud providers must deploy data centers in all of the top metros in the United States and ensure that they supply the necessary power, cooling, interconnection, security, and other services.

Not to worry: 5G will happen.

When considering 5G’s future rollout, think about the commercial internet’s inception. Skeptics doubted the full use of extra bandwidth with initial 4G offers. However, shortly after 4G’s launch, smartphones emerged and gained popularity. If history is an indicator, a new trend will help carriers recover their investments. The impact of 5G may mirror 4G’s influence on consumers and businesses in a decade. Rest assured, 5G will materialize. Unlike its predecessors, 4G and 3G, 5G focuses on connecting network, data, and applications. This connection sets 5G apart from previous wireless technologies, enhancing its power. As network capacity and latency advance, 5G will become more prevalent. The design will increasingly integrate with the application layer at user endpoints. Modern data centers are prepared. The goal now is to move carrier networks closer to application edges, ensuring direct communication.

Source: Inside Big Data

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