The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) is currently producing standards for Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC), formerly known as Mobile Edge Computing, in collaboration with OpenFog Consortium. They formed an industry specification group (ISG) that is tasked with identifying the MEC standards that optimize the benefits for all players involved. The core objective focuses on cooperation between the network operators, the applications, and the content providers to boost the overall user experience.
MEC bypasses network congestion by connecting devices to the network’s edge. The network edge is locally positioned at base stations, data centers, and other local hot spots with the purpose of optimizing cloud computing. A host of devices rely on a steady network connection to function, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), autonomous cars, and cloud-based applications. Not only does tapping into a local edge network bring computing closer to the end user, but MEC decreases latency and has a high bandwidth. The result is consistent network connectivity, and the ability for multiple devices to connect simultaneously.
The process for establishing MEC standards is ongoing, but the ISG has already identified fifteen standards. See the MEC standards along with a brief definition for each below.
MEC Standards by the MEC ISG
- End to End Mobility Aspects — This standard addresses the issue of service continuity when a user’s device uses an edge network, and then moves out of the network. It outlines, in detail, relocation procedures, solutions, and considerations for various scenarios to maintain constant communication between device and network.
- Mobile Edge Management, Part 1: System, host, and platform management — This standard defines the management protocol of the mobile edge system, hosts, and platforms.
- Bandwidth Management API — This standard primarily deals with bandwidth concerns when multiple devices use the same edge network. It focuses on application policy information, and how to address certain application program interface (API) scenarios that affect bandwidth usage and the network edge.
- UE application interface — This standard details how to manage the application’s lifecycle on the connected device’s application interface.
- General Principles for Mobile Edge Service APIs — This contains a glossary of the RESTFul API mobile edge service’s design principles. This document also highlights the API guidelines and templates.
- Mobile Edge Management, Part 2 — The MEC ISG outlines the application lifestyle management protocol in this standard. The document lists the rules and management requirements. It also diagrams reference points to support lifecycle management.
- Mobile Edge Platform Application Enablement — This document focuses on how the mobile platform functionality one (Mp1) reference point enables applications to communicate with the mobile edge system.
- Radio Network Information API — The Radio Network Information may be used by mobile edge platforms to enhance the mobility processes. This standard describes when it’s useful to enact the Radio Network Information API, and how to use it.
- Location API: This standard establishes guidelines for detecting user’s device location information on the edge network.
- Market Acceleration; MEC Metrics Best Practice and Guidelines — This document lists MEC metrics in order to assess MEC technology enhancements.
- Technical Requirements — This specification covers generic principles related to MEC, such as NFV alignment and mobility support. Additionally, it explains the framework, service requirements, and lists important features.
- Framework and Reference Architecture — This specification illustrates MEC’s framework and reference architecture. This is particularly useful as it denotes the reference points mentioned in later standard documents.
- Terminology — A glossary of terms concerning the MEC’s various elements.
- Service Scenarios — An overview of services that benefit from MEC.
- Proof of Concept (PoC) Framework — It outlines the framework behind the PoC and its objectives.
The ISG’s standards include an in-depth review of definitions, architecture, framework, and processes. You can review the entire MEC standards here.