As the Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) working group at ETSI passes the one year milestone, the standards body has announced the development of three proof of concepts demonstrating the capabilities of the technology.
In late 2014 ETSI announced the formation of the group focussing on delivering content and video nearer the network edge by providing compute and storage abilities in the RAN. As telecoms.com reported at the time, ETSI stated that by utilising an open and standardised networking environment nearer the network edge, service providers are able to deliver media content and services to users in a timelier manner. By caching more content locally in base stations, the operator can reduce the workload on the backhaul linking to the core. Nokia Networks, Vodafone, IBM, Intel, NTT DoCoMo and Huawei all threw their hats into the ring.
Now, ETSI has announced three proof of concepts and a whitepaper which point towards MEC being one of the key components of a 5G infrastructure, and an enabler for IoT on the mobile network.
The three early PoCs focus on video optimisation, caching and orchestration in the RAN and on fully virtualized infrastructure – presumably there’s a tie-in with the work being done at the ETSI NFV ISG for the latter PoC. Telecom Italia, Intel, Nokia, EE and China Mobile are among the leading participants in each trial. According to ETSI, a PoC proposal can be submitted by a PoC team consisting of at least one MNO, at least one infrastructure vendor and one content or video provider.
According to ETSI: “Ongoing work in the ISG includes development of specifications on technical requirements and use cases, framework and reference architecture, MEC metrics best practise guidelines, business case examples, or market requirements for a multivendor ecosystem, demonstration kits and a tutorial.”
The standards body went on to say that early 2016 will see the start of work on platform services, APIs and interfaces in earnest. In accordance with a lot of the philosophies of NFV and SDN, with which ETSI sees close tie-ins, any MEC APIs will be application agnostic and allow the smooth porting of value-creating applications on every mobile-edge serve with guaranteed SLAs.