5G and edge computing:

configuring the

edge topology

Author: Shane Schick

For a long time, data has taken the long way around, traveling across extensive network pathways to reach people and devices. 5G and edge computing should shorten that distance in a way that could bring great value to businesses—if they begin preparing their networks right now.

Some of the early goals of mobile edge computing (MEC) included addressing the cost of bandwidth, accelerating processing and decreasing the volume of network traffic going to and from centralized data centers. Those benefits remain, and the high bandwidth of 5G, combined with its ultra-low latency, opens up an even richer set of pathways for enterprises across industries to enhance their digital transformation efforts.

The IT barriers that MEC overcomes

Understanding how to unlock and harness the power of 5G and MEC can now be a practical reality for IT organizations. IT organizations can consider investing less in the space, hardware, compute, storage, security and administration of a MEC enclave because Verizon has begun to include these components within the edge of their wireless network, much closer to end users than before. This means that firms can evolve into a full MEC deployment over time by standing up pilots and then moving their applications into full production after a rigorous quality control cycle. And firms can start their transformation by standing up MEC deployments on 4G LTE where 5G is not available.

For many large organizations, cybersecurity concerns are constantly top of mind. Firms should ensure they build a robust operational security posture internally that provides proactive assessment of their internal operational domain to help mitigate internal and external threats.

Unlocking the potential of 5G and MEC requires a holistic strategy that considers how a firm can begin the transformational process to its desired end state.

Edge network topology

When implementing 5G and edge computing, organizations can build upon their existing networks—including its LAN, WAN or even SD WAN—as well as its corporate data center.

By using a centralized cloud network to handle general-purpose, latency-tolerant applications, early MEC adopters can send mission-critical applications across 5G through an access network. This enables the high throughput and massive volume required for data to travel to edge gateway devices, such as IoT sensors, cameras, drones and robotic automation systems.

A good use case example might be the smart factory environment. There, workers could use 5G-connected cameras to inspect inventory before it leaves a warehouse, or robots could communicate with each other to provide efficient data analysis and remove human error. Robots would no longer require the traditional topology of the access layer or on-premise gateway—as latency-sensitive components, they would connect through the 5G network to an MEC node. Latency-tolerant services, in turn, would operate on the core cloud. 5G’s ultra-low latency, coupled with the capability of a private MEC environment, could bring the concept of always-on intelligence to life in such a setting.

5G could enhance the performance and potential areas in which isolated, secure and private MEC is already transforming large enterprises. Become one of those enterprises by learning more about Verizon 5G Edge.