Israeli-based Saguna launched a starter kit to speed up the adoption and deployment of what it calls multi-access edge cloud (MEC) platforms.
The MEC acronym is also used for other similar platforms such as mobile edge computing and multi-access edge computing. Basically, these platforms look to move computing power closer to the end user in an attempt to lower latency and improve service performance. Services targeted include the Internet of Things (IoT), virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), connected vehicles, content-delivery networks (CDNs), and 5G.
For Saguna, the starter kit includes its Open-RAN (radio access network) product that provides for centralized management and automation. It uses representational state transfer (REST) APIs to handle integration of edge applications and management.
The company is touting the kit’s ability to provide a learning environment for those new to the MEC environment. But it also includes the ability to use the platform for actual deployments.
Saguna’s MEC plans tap network functions virtualization (NFV) in helping operators push network access to the edge. Company CEO Lior Fite previously told SDxCentral that its platform involved a multi-access compute element and a management element.
Saguna’s platform creates a bridge between the access network and a small OpenStack cloud, which works in a standard IP environment. It provides APIs for location, registration for services, traffic direction, radio network services, and available bandwidth. The management element is similar to an NFV manager, but it instead handles MEC management.
Saguna last year joined a handful of vendors in supporting the Greengrass initiative from Amazon Web Services (AWS). The Greengrass software is designed to help edge devices process data and communicate with the AWS cloud.
MEC and CORD
Iain Gillott, president and founder of research firm iGR, linked MEC with the Central Office Re-architected as a Data Center (CORD) initiative as key pillars for operators to shift their traditional network architecture to one that looks like a data center.
“Simply put, MEC marries a radio with a data center,” Gillott noted in a report. “Today, that radio is LTE, but it could also be WiFi, 5G New Radio, or some combination of them all. The server component is a secure, virtualized platform that network owners can ‘open up’ to third parties, such as content providers and application developers.”
Gillott noted that many of his clients that are involved in densifying mobile operator networks with small cells are looking closely at MEC because they see those two trends coming together. “Re-architecting the network with small cells lends itself to edge computing,” he said.
Saguna last year worked with Vodafone in testing streaming video over a cellular connection. Trial results indicated improved network performance for MEC compared with traditional network architecture.
“According to our findings, one in five users of 4G is likely to get a non-optimal video streaming experience when consuming content from streaming servers in typical hosting locations outside the mobile network,” explained Simone Mangiante, research and standards specialist at Vodafone, in a statement. “This research provides concrete evidence for the benefits of MEC-based video streaming.”