Overview of edge computing and MEC

What is “the Edge”?

Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) or Multi-Access Edge Computing, is defined in many ways. In fact, the definition of MEC varies widely by the context you consider it, and sometimes by audience. In this post we will explain the nomenclature and concepts that define telecommunications service providers’ network edge and its use in the delivery of mobile, business and residential services. First let’s take a look at the broader term edge. What is it?

The edge, in the traditional usage, has referred to the point where a “customer connects to the provider.” The provider being the organization providing a service. Largely, this was one of three situations:

  1. An enterprise customer connecting to a service provider’s (SP) edge for network services.
  2. A retail customer connecting to mobility services.
  3. A home user connecting to broadband services.

As we know, today we live in a world focused on cloud service providers (CSP). CSP’s are not primarily concerned with network services, but rather providing a place to easily run various workloads at scale. This includes compute, storage, network, AI/ML, IoT, databases, etc. So what is the “edge” in this context?

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