Software developments and innovation at the network edge

Network edge

Operators have been looking at the possibility and capabilities of the network edge for years. Network edge is the point at which the enterprise-owned network connects to a third-party network. The arrival of 5G is promising to attract new business but what is the reality and where do communication service providers (CSPs) feature in this journey?

Most CSPs realize a great opportunity in the use of edge computing to get themselves back in to the cloud. They are able to apply data analytics, AI and AR-based applications by grasping the opportunity to transfer computer storage and networking to the far edge of their network.

American software solutions company Red Hat, is already seeing substantial innovation around edge which comes from the adoption of open source. Developers are able to create on one main platform and thus, innovate on top of it rather than working from the ground up, maintaining a legacy-based platform as they develop new applications. Having a horizontal platform and being able to contain workloads to assess cost reduction in the market, serves as a support for all fresh business cases currently being developed as a means to take advantage of the edge and 5G.

The containing of network elements is going to realise a 10-20% cost reduction for operators and Red Hat also reports that more than 60% of all its telecoms partners are currently considering ‘containerization’ across their own networks, building on what they have done in terms of virtualization. Such figures could also improve when it comes to the radio access network. Transition into the virtual RAN could reduce the time to market by almost 60% by delivering new services at the far edge of the network. This allows telcos to better coordinate their infrastructure and also, more cost-effectively, allowing cost of ownership savings of between 30-40%. vRAN is fast becoming a mechanism for telcos to software-enable their current vertically positioned, hardware-based infrastructure at the network edge.