The Hyped Anticipation for 5G in MWC
Despite the heated discussion and overhyped marketing about 5G in the recent MWC (Mobile World Congress) event in Barcelona, such technology will still take another year or longer to be officially available, said 2020, and that means, all those advertisements from participating tech companies about their ideal services and applications, like all the hypes of IoT, IoV (Internet of Vehicles), and A.I.-based VR/AR, may not come true until 5G is coined and concrete. Like all the technological trends in the past, there have always been transitions from a pre-dominant technology to the next phenomenon, and this time, it is the edge to fit into the 4G to 5G.
Indeed, edge is not a totally new phenomenon nor is cool enough to be a buzzword. However, it will be clear that edge computing will become the fundamental blocks for 5G infrastructure, and then the realization of A.I., IoT, IoV and all these trends. Since the first 5G smart phones was announced (by Huawei, for example) in MWC 2019, 5G base stations and networking solutions have become the center of discussions because bottlenecks like performance, latency and bandwidth still exist. Therefore, edge computing architecture will be the key element to break through these bottlenecks.
Edge Seen as the Enabler of 5G
In fact, major players have already demonstrated their expertise in the edge computing solutions, covering both hardware and software domains. In other words, leading vendors in networking solutions have unanimously agreed to the wide deployment of edge before the actual realization of 5G. The reason behind is that edge has become a complicated term.
Edge has to be very widely deployed in order to realize IoT, A.I, IoV or smart city promised by 5G. Successful cases in recent sports events have proved that edge computing is a highly location-dense application, as the edge gateways were used as smaller version of data center and installed near the users, such as commercial buildings, offices, stadiums and Cloud RAN stations. Due to the various needs and requirements for different locations and users, edge computing has evolved to be more system-specific, which means, the hardware or software requirements for each application and location will be different. Hardware vendors will prevail by offering wider range of solutions and customization capability, while software leaders will have to jointly develop universal, standardized platforms to shorten the deployment time of edge servers.
Since edge is the enabler of 5G, industry vendors will continue to innovate their hardware and software capabilities to meet the changing requirements. As said, the location issue will become more and more complicated due to government regulations on commercial and residential districts. Thus, a capable vendor must have a very wide and rich product portfolio to meet the complicated demands for edge computing. For instance, Lanner Inc. offers a broad product portfolio in Intel x86 open architecture and their white-box hardware comes in various hardware form factors to be deployed in multiple scenarios. In fact, the company has a proven record in SD-WAN and SDN related markets, which gives them the upper hand to shorten the time-to-market for edge solutions.