5G Brings a New Dimension to Edge Computing

Open hybrid cloud technologies are a key enabler behind 5G technology.

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5G isn’t only about downloading movies in just a few minutes. Wireless operators are leveraging 5G technology to bring a host of public and private network edge services to the market – and open hybrid cloud technologies are a key enabler.

5G allows for increased numbers of data sources or processing points that can be interconnected, implying an exponential increase in the volume of data to be processed. The issue is, this can overwhelm existing “sites to cloud” connections and requires data processing much closer to the source. 5G also allows for much lower latencies.

“5G and edge computing are two inextricably linked technologies: they are both poised to significantly improve the performance of applications and enable huge amounts of data to be processed in real-time,” writes Dalia Adib of telecom consulting firm STL Partners. “5G increases speeds by up to 10 times that of 4G, whereas mobile edge computing reduces latency by bringing compute capabilities into the network, closer to the end-user.” Adib makes the case that “5G needs edge computing to drive demand for its services.”

Costly barriers for carriers

Rolling out 5G is a costly proposition for carriers, though. “Traditional reliance on proprietary and closely integrated hardware and software stacks from individual vendors is beginning to look too costly for a technology that demands a huge increase in the number of base stations over previous generation wireless,” Network World’s Jon Gold points out. “A big part of how the carriers plan to keep their costs down and keep deployments moving centers on a shift away from proprietary technology and towards open standards.”

Red Hat and Intel recently announced efforts to accelerate the delivery of automated, cloud-native infrastructure for new 5G services. “Together, Red Hat and Intel will align R&D efforts to help move 5G, networking innovation and related features more quickly into upstream open source projects (e.g. Kubernetes) while also bringing these new technologies to customers as commercialized, supported offerings for production deployment more swiftly,” according to a joint statement.

Carriers including Rakuten Mobile Network and Samsung have adopted Red Hat’s open source technology in their efforts to roll out 5G edge services.

“Consistent horizontal cloud-native platforms enable service providers to use the same infrastructure for multiple use cases and reduce management and operational expenses,” RCR Wireless explains in its report on how “Samsung will deliver 5G network solutions built on Red Hat’s hybrid cloud portfolio, including Red Hat OpenShift, Red Hat OpenStack Platform, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform, and Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage.”

Common meeting point

The focus on open hybrid cloud is good news for enterprises that want to integrate their edge infrastructure with public cloud and both public and private carrier services. IBM, for example, is leveraging OpenShift in its Cloud Satellite service, which aims to deploy and run apps “apps consistently across on-premises, edge computing and public cloud environments from any cloud vendor.”

Edge is taking shape quickly and it seems clear that open hybrid cloud technology provides a common meeting point for cloud providers, carriers, and enterprises. “With service providers and enterprises widely adopting Kubernetes and OpenShift as a foundational platform to deploy applications, I see the market-driving potential for 5G as immense,” writes Ron Westfall of research firm Futurum.

Red Hat sees edge differently. See how: https://www.redhat.com/en/topics/edge-computing/approach?sc_cid=7013a000002w1CwAAI

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