Verizon announced last week that it successfully tested edge computing on a live 5G network in Houston and slashed network latency in half.
Verizon announced last week that it successfully tested edge computing on a live 5G network in Houston and slashed network latency in half. Edge computing systems process data locally, like in a nearby data center or on-device, which lessens the strain on networks and improves data reply times.
Verizon's test required engineers to install Multi-access Edge Compute (MEC) equipment and MEC platform software close to the edge of a network facility in an effort to cut down the distance data from a facial recognition application had to move when identifying people.
The test saw round-trip latency results of between 10ms and 15ms — which is twice as fast compared with using the centralized data center — according to Adam Koeppe, Verizon's SVP of Network Planning.
Verizon’s milestone in its edge computing pilot will play a key role in its broader Intelligent Edge Network initiative. The initiative aims to change how the company’s running its network by making software the control point, thereby making it easier to automate services and share different network assets, according to Verizon SVP of Technology, Strategy, & Planning Ed Chan. This evolution is expected to provide both capex and opex efficiencies compared with legacy networks.
Edge computing is a big deal because its ability to reduce latency will be pivotal in enabling the next-generation of emerging technologies to move into the mainstream.The next wave of technologies, such as immersive VR and AR, autonomous cars, IoT, and telemedicine, require faster speeds and lower latency to function, and 4G LTE's capabilities and the cloud are insufficient to adequately power them.
For instance, edge computing will enable mobile networks to more effortlessly handle the heavy data transfer for VR and AR digital properties. And low latency will be necessary to power autonomous cars since they have to react to situations in real time. If the data transfer between the car and the network lags, there could be fatal consequences.
But, of course, Verizon isn’t alone in exploring edge computing. AT&T is also focused on edge computing as part of its three service pillars — mobile 5G, fixed 5G, and edge computing — to push businesses to adopt 5G. AT&T Business also offers multi-access edge compute (MEC), which uses the carrier’s software-defined network to enable faster access to data processing.