The ETSI Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) group created its first working group — the Deployment and Ecosystem working group, or “Decode.” The new group will focus on the implementation and deployment of MEC-based systems using standardized APIs. These systems leverage the MEC-defined framework and its services.
The group will be led by Walter Featherstone, a principal research engineer at Viavi.
ETSI formed the MEC industry specification group (ISG) with 24 companies in December 2014. The group now boasts around 85 members. It set out to create a standardized, open environment for the integration of applications across multi-vendor MEC platforms.
MEC will enable operators and vendors to provide cloud computing as well as an IT service environment at the edge of the network, which is characterized by low latency and high bandwidth. The technology is a rapidly developing application for 5G and IoT use cases.
Decode was formed to accelerate market adoption of the MEC application enablement framework and service APIs that were created by the ETSI MEC ISG. These APIs are built to help developers build services based on the contextual information available at the network edge.
As part of its formation, the group has detailed a number of activities that it will focus on.
The working group will help facilitate the use of open source components for the validation of MEC use cases or system entities. In addition, Decode is working to discover the best practices to implement these MEC systems using cloud application design, orchestration and automation, security, and reliability advances.
Another key element of Decode is that the group will further the efforts of the ISG to enable operator adoption and interoperability. It will do so by creating further specifications for the testing of MEC, including API conformance specifications and guidelines.
It will also open the ecosystem up to third-party application developers by exposing OpenAPI-compliant MEC API descriptions on ETSI’s GitLab site.
Developing Use Cases for MEC
The MEC ISG has recently demonstrated a number of implementations using its proof of concept (PoC) framework. These include optimizing video user experience using a service aware radio access network (RAN) MEC PoC, edge video orchestration, using a multi-service MEC platform for advanced service delivery, and low-latency industrial IoT. The group has released 12 PoCs.
According to Alex Reznik, the chair of MEC ISG, the enterprise is the “biggest immediate application space,” with IoT applications, gaming, and augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) also emerging as important use cases.
In addition, Featherstone noted in an email to SDxCentral that at a high level, “MEC provides a stepping stone to enabling the ultra-low latency, ultra-reliable use cases targeted by 5G.”
He also said that ETSI has an ongoing work item that is targeted at a vehicular-to-everything (V2X) MEC service to provide safety, convenience, advanced driving assistance, and vulnerable road user alerts.
The Emergence of Edge Groups
As the edge becomes more vital to emerging 5G and IoT use cases, there has been a surge of groups working on building standards and open resources for edge computing.
Vapor IO this week launched the Kinetic Edge Alliance. This group was formed to establish a critical mass for edge computing in the top 30 metro markets in the U.S. It built on Vapor IO’s Kinetic Edge architecture, which combines multiple micro-data centers into a single, virtual facility using software-defined interconnection and high-speed networking.
The Linux Foundation, earlier this year, launched an edge computing initiative called LF Edge. The initiative will serve as an umbrella organization for five edge projects. The group has set out to build an open, interoperable framework for edge computing that is independent of hardware, silicon, cloud, or operating systems.