Delivering data to the edge

Imagine watching the Rio Olympics or even the World Cup, either in person or from the comfort of a pub, streaming matches, sharing stats, pushing it on social media, email, messaging apps, leaning hard on the content delivery network, the internet and various other ‘nets whilst maintaining high levels of QoS and not encountering buffering signs.

Delivering this huge amount of data on the fly and in an instant to millions of users, will soon become easier thanks to emerging technologies, writes Light Reading’s Iain Morris.

Foreseeing that level of performance and simplifying it for operators is getting increasingly important, which is where the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) comes in. It’s been working on the technical spec for multi-access edge computing (MEC) – formerly mobile edge computing – where it’s clear the winners with a performance advantage will be those cloud operators with edge infrastructure versus those without.

Despite the idea of edge having been around for a while, challenges such as cost and location – basestations out in the middle of nowhere for example – and physical security have been a few of the many issues to sort out.

ETSI’s solution to those problems is to propose that resources be deployed at secure aggregation points, rather than individual basestations, thereby reducing the number of physical locations and lowering costs. But because those aggregation points are not inherent to the architecture, their rollout could pose fresh technical challenges”, according to Gabriel Brown, a senior analyst at the Heavy Reading market research unit.

There are other challenges too, and it’s not just up to ETSI to get this all working. It’ll need to work with numerous other standards bodies such as the 3GPP, IEEE, and the Wireless Broadband Alliance together with anyone else comes along with bright ideas. That’s a lot of bodies to contend with.

So as that happens in the background and the curtain rises on the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, will we be putting up with stuttering video or enjoying a seamless happy experience rooting for our nations heroes?

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