Home The Importance of Having an Edge: Five Key Capabilities of Edge Computing

The Importance of Having an Edge: Five Key Capabilities of Edge Computing

Home The Importance of Having an Edge: Five Key Capabilities of Edge Computing

The Importance of Having an Edge: Five Key Capabilities of Edge Computing

by Sean O’Donoghue
Sean O’Donoghue

In today’s hyperconnected digital economy, communication service providers (CSPs) are refocusing their efforts on developing and growing new revenue streams from their enterprise customers, and edge computing can help that cause. Top-tier CSPs recognize the capabilities and benefits of edge computing, monetizing enterprise revenue opportunities of the future, faster.

For many CSPs, their enterprise offerings currently focus on providing essential network connectivity services such as mobile and fixed broadband bundled with information and communications technology (ICT) services. Enterprises, for their part, have leveraged the convenience of having a “one-stop-shop” to order, consume, and pay for network and IT products and services.


Technology Advancements & Edge Computing

With new advancements in technology, increased security concerns and the compelling requirement to deliver low-latency services with local autonomy, the deployment of dedicated private networks and industry applications has become mainstream.

As we look at Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) from a use case perspective, manufacturing, logistics, remote locations, retail, and content delivery networks are some of the most debated use cases in the industry. Rapid advancements in technology have also contributed significantly to the realization of MEC. These advances include the availability of licensed, unlicensed and shared spectrum; the evolution of the closed mobile core network to an open, disaggregated and distributed cloud-native network; and the arrival of public, private, and hybrid cloud data centers.

Notice that I haven’t mentioned 5G specifically. That’s because 5G is not a prerequisite for delivering Mobile Edge Computing capabilities. In fact, Affirmed was delivering 5G-styled capabilities such as control and user plane separation (CUPS), local break out (LBO), support for public cloud deployments and new industry levels of throughput using COTS x86 infrastructure even before the industry began to move toward 5G.


Edge Computing Capabilities Present CSPs With a Significant Opportunity

Few would argue that MEC presents a significant revenue opportunity for CSPs, provided they focus on their unique strengths and collaborate with innovative partners that can deliver highly differentiated webscale mobile services at unprecedented speed. Trust, transparency, and reliable services are some of the key foundational elements that are already in place in the relationship between CSPs and enterprises. Collaboration with innovative partners is critical in laying the foundation for the delivery of next-generation enterprise services.

Let me explain why this partnership is so important. As CSPs ramp up the delivery of edge services to various industry verticals and enterprises, there are several key platform selection criteria and deployment considerations that they need to take into consideration. These decisions will determine the commercial viability, deployment, and operational synergies of their enterprise offerings going forward. At Affirmed Networks, we developed our Mobile Edge Computing solution, the Affirmed Cloud Edge, specifically to address the MEC opportunity.


Mobile Edge Computing Capabilities and Benefits for Cloud Edge

Cloud Edge has five unique capabilities that support mobile edge computing, which differentiate it in the market today:

1. Ultra-high network performance

Cloud Edge delivers 10x more performance throughput than competitive alternatives: over 200 Gbps on a single Intel Xeon server. Its linear and independent scaling of the control, user and management data planes enables CSPs to rapidly and efficiently scale network resources at the network’s edge.

2. Deployment flexibility

Depending on the actual use case and the associated business imperatives, having the flexibility to either deploy a centralized or distributed solution is critical to achieving economies of scale—a capability that Cloud Edge delivers. For example, a CSP looking to deliver low-latency, multi-cloud services would benefit immensely by centralizing control plane functions (because of the proximity of network operations) but deploying user plane instances in a distributed fashion at either the CSP’s or the customer’s edge.

3. Differentiated experiences

Cloud Edge allows CSP to deliver differentiated services to their customers on a per-flow basis. This is achieved through a single integrated and highly optimized platform that consists of mobile core network functions and Gi-LAN functions such as vProbe, deep packet inspection (DPI), CG-NAT, optimization, proxy, and load balancing.

4. Integrated virtual probe and real-time analytics

As CSPs look to complete with different service offers in the market, the ability to provide real-time network and customer behavioral insight, identify operational efficiencies, predict future demand and deliver service innovation is a key value-add. Cloud Edge delivers these capabilities, as well as real-time analytics that can support audit trails including the auditing of security data.

5. Automation

In the inevitable disaggregation of mobile networks, the ability to dynamically automate the onboarding of enterprises, end-user services, applications, and scaling of network infrastructure is essential, particularly with MEC applications. Cloud Edge’s automation tools allow CSPs the capability to quickly adjust for traffic highs and lows automatically, thus reducing operational costs and reducing time to revenue.


The Future of Edge Computing

To have an “Edge” going forward, CSPs need to fundamentally question the conventional wisdom that dictates how networks and related services are procured, delivered, and operated. To win the enterprise opportunity, CSPs should partner with industry leaders that have a proven vision for the future. Whether you’re focused on the core, the edge or what lies beyond, follow the lead of top-tier CSPs around the world and trust Affirmed Networks to help you monetize the enterprise revenue opportunities of the future, faster.