Public clouds join telcos to enable 5G at the edge
With 5G infrastructure rollouts making gradual but steady progress, the stage is set for public clouds to increase value for enterprise users.
This cloud-telco complementary relationship will flourish mainly through partnerships which overlay cloud services and core software stacks directly on the telco’s 5G network.
Edge clouds that deliver faster network speed and programmable virtualization functions are an obvious entry point for U.S. cloud majors, as they look to help monetize 5G’s potential for ultra-low latency IoT.
In reality, however, telcos are still working to match the promise of 5G on a national scale. This makes cloud-to-edge partnerships an enticing route to improving their enterprise offer, as they aim to push the bar on download speeds.
Societal Functions Fueled by 5G at the Edge
Imagine a new university satellite dormitory detached from a main campus location, and with few transit options. Confined in their dorm rooms due to COVID-19 restrictions, it’s challenging for students to get the most bang for their buck, when they can’t even attend lectures in person.
5G-enabled edge clouds will allow schools to circumvent the problem and avoid affecting student outcomes. By including more of the cloud computing stack, they can drive the university’s online infrastructure closer to the satellite campus and deliver high-bandwidth content, such as virtual reality, remote desktops or cloud gaming services.
As partnerships between telcos and public clouds have deepened in recent years, both parties have started to weave in more cloud services, at 5G edge locations such as regional data centers. To use an analogy, these could be thought of as the public cloud’s local TV affiliate.
Applications backed by telcos will springboard from this enriched edge cloud connectivity. A new robotics-focused division for the enterprise was unveiled by telecommunications giant Verizon in recent weeks, using its 5G mobile edge compute (MEC) stack.
Using Amazon Web Service (AWS) to deliver computer vision through its low-latency 5G network, Corning Incorporated, an advanced manufacturing and materials science firm, is ramping up the stack for its robotics system in North Carolina.
The development comes after Verizon rolled out AWS functionality within its 5G MEC across key U.S. markets. Currently Verizon customers in select U.S. cities have access to AWS’s Wavelength service, embedded within Verizon’s 5G transmission centers. AWS Outposts, a managed service that encompasses various infrastructure, services and application programming interfaces, can also be integrated together with Verizon’s enterprise 5G offering.
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