Alan Brock, vice president of corporate development and strategy at Crown Castle, said, “we are intrigued by the potential of MEC.” Multi-access edge computing, or MEC, offers significant enhancements to computing. The traits that make edge computing desirable are the ultra-low latency, increased security, and the real-time transferring of data.
MEC is computing at the edge of a network. Localized sources — such as base stations, routers, WiFi, cell phone towers – create a network edge that’s closer to the end-user. This proximity reduces latency and provides a consistent connection. Tower company Crown Castle sees its opportunity in supplying the network edge to metro-area communities.
Review Crown Castle’s current plans for MEC below.
Crown Castle’s MEC Investment
Crown Castle partnered with Vapor IO in Vapor IO’s quest to install micro-data centers at cell tower base stations. The company will be able to deliver edge computing with Crown Castle’s 40,000 cell tower locations and its metro fiber lines to Austin, Chicago, and Pittsburgh. Vapor IO received a minority investment from Crown Castle in pursuit of this project, deemed Project Volutus.
Vapor IO CEO Cole Crawford stated in a press release introducing Volutus that “by locating Vapor IO’s technology at tower locations and connecting to dense metro fiber, we will provide the fastest, most economical way for cloud providers, telecom carriers, and web-scale companies to deliver next-generation edge services in every major US city.”
Project Volutus incorporates Intel’s MEC software libraries and FlexRAN to create a Volutus’ virtualized radio access network (vRAN) platform. The Vapor Chamber plays a central role in building the micro-data centers at the base of Crown Castle’s towers. These chambers are “edge ready.”