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Getting a piece of the Telco Cloud on the ground

Getting a piece of the Telco Cloud on the ground
June 11, 2019

Cloud, network slicing, and edge computing technologies and processes are changing the way that it is being put to use for service providers. It has to be admitted that with different purposes, 5G performance expectations are found wanting with current network topology.

Under certain performance requirements for some of the use cases, using edge computing becomes imperative; this necessitates bringing the cloud server to the ground. This is especially true for cases where the key drivers for service providers have ultra-low latency and high throughput.

With a significant volume of edge traffic bypassing the core network, service providers are able to conserve a significant amount of network bandwidth. This deployment may lead to threatening Microsoft and Amazon since hundreds of microdata centers are deployed by the carriers.

Edge computing may reduce a huge amount of data going to the global cloud. There are two proponents of this solution, one of which wants to introduce the plain vanilla cloud infrastructure very similar to AWS or Azure. While the other one suggests having multiple different VNFs and other network services to align with 5G challenges.

Edge computing may reduce a huge of amount of data going to the global cloud.

Thus, we are likely to encounter vital innovations in the areas of data monetization, data analytics, and several other pathbreaking user experiences, resulting from various data traffic analysis and deep packet inspection applications that contain large volumes of data at the edge.

Moreover, we will be able to route the right data for appropriate data lakes based on definite policies. It is seen that certain use cases such as public safety applications, drone, connected cars, and AR/VR need lightening responses below 5ms. Long before the traffic reaches to the core or backhaul networks, from telco edge cloud, we can deliver security services by deploying edge devices and applications. High-speed data management, intelligent edge computing, thinner VNFs, and diverse service applications will be some of the key components of the telco edge cloud.

The pace at which experimentation is progressing, it may not be long before practical implementation is seen in the production. Some predict a likely outcome as early as next year.

What remains to be seen is how early service providers are able to reap the benefits of the new CapEx and OpEx. But this will only materialize after service providers have shown sufficient proofs to justify their new investment.

The timeline of telco edge cloud implementation at the ground level is not yet clear. However, cloud server hosting providers are keen on deploying innovations and delivering the promised profits. Telco cloud deployment will have a positive correlation with the adoption of 5G use cases. It is claimed that this cloud server deployment will be accelerated by the increasing adoption of 5G by end users and enterprises.

A successful telco edge cloud deployment will involve the following applications and technologies:

  1. Network Slicing
  2. Distributed Cloud Computing
  3. Network Functions Virtualization
  4. Data Center Topology
  5. AI/ML
  6. Edge Computing
  7. Dynamic Orchestration of Services and NFVs

There is a doubt regarding who, among the following, will be in charge of expediting and innovating the telco edge cloud infrastructure and services:

Telecom Service Providers

  • Equipment Manufacturers
  • Systems Integrator

Cloud Service Providers

Even though the natural ownership seems to be telecom service providers, an absence of clear revenue in near future may either prohibit them to go for it or delay the deployment.

There is also a distinct possibility of a start-up coming out with a ‘Telco Edge Cloud as a Service’ model. It can deal with monetization, OpEx, and CapEx while selling the services on a revenue-sharing basis.

It will be a herculean task for the start-up to partner with all service providers and build a platform for hyper-scale end users. Irrespective of the ownership, architecture, and long-term monetization, telco edge cloud or multi-access edge cloud is going to be a reality and will continue to act as a mini central office over the next few years.