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Tech talks: Tales from the edge of the cloud

27 Jan 2020Technology

Multi-access edge computing (MEC) drives 5G networks. Instead of a centralised cloud, data is processed in real time at the edge of the network, reducing latency. Vodafone Group CTO Johan Wibergh explains how.

The biggest promise of 5G is being able to bring low latency service through edge computing to our customers.

What’s that? Well, it’s an application used for things like industry automation. We talk about industry 4.0, so smart production lines and other industrial IoT.

It can be complex real time applications such as augmented reality, games or connected cars – and other things that require low latency on the go.

Complex applications which run on the MEC instead of the device mean the hardware – for example game consoles – can be to be cheaper.

MEC allows us to leverage high speeds and low latency 5G networks further, by providing computing capabilities at the edge of the network, closer to the end-users than ever before.

Give it the edge

Our engineers have been working with Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) engineers for the past few months, looking for a good way of bringing AWS compute and storage to Vodafone’s 5G network.

Based on this, we’re excited to announce we’re launching a pilot in the UK and Germany on a AWS based MEC solution – AWS Wavelength.

We looked at the most promising use cases, and identified both consumer and enterprise drivers for applications which are not possible on 3G and 4G networks.

They’re broadly split into categories:

  • very low latency,

  • off-load of compute/traffic on device/network and

  • improved security for customers.

Cloud coverage

Vodafone is a leader in 5G in Europe. We have already launched in seven countries and 58 cities. So why partner with AWS?

Well, it’s the biggest cloud ecosystem in the world, with low barriers to entry for application developers.

That’s because they just use existing APIs and tools to develop low latency applications – making it easy to put them into production.

We’ll maintain control of facilities deeper in the network using our MEC capability and security layers. And jointly create a platform combining AWS’ hardware and services – and Vodafone’s cutting edge 5G network, hosting and connectivity capabilities.

Integrate this

Our engineers have been working with AWS engineers to find a way of integrating into our 5G network. So we can get it controlled, we can get it secure, and we can make it very efficient.

By bringing AWS Wavelength into our networks, we will deliver powerful computing and storage capabilities that will underpin exciting digital services across Europe and beyond.

I’m extremely happy with the partnership and the work we’ve done together with AWS – and we will be launching edge computing in our 5G networks in the European footprint in 2020.

Join the conversation and learn more from Johan on LinkedIn.

  • AR / VR
  • Cloud
  • Digital services
  • Infrastructure
  • Technology
  • Viewpoint