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The emergence of Multi Access Edge Computing (MEC) technology aims at extending cloud computing capabilities to the edge of the radio access network, hence providing real-time, high-bandwidth, low-latency access to radio network resources. IoT is identified as a key use case of MEC, given MEC’s ability to provide cloud platform and gateway services at the network edge. MEC will inspire the development of many new applications and services with demand for ultra-low latency and high Quality of Service (QoS) due to its dense geographical distribution and wide support for mobility. MEC is therefore an important enabler of IoT applications and services which require real-time operations.
Cloud computing enables the outsourcing of storage and processing functionalities of IoT data to a third party in order to simplify the issues involved in self-management and protection of the data. However, the centralized nature of conventional cloud servers face several challenges such as single point of failure, lack of location awareness, reachability, and latencies associated with typical Wide Area Networks (WANs). On the other hand, many IoT applications need to be served with decentralized systems which need mobility management, geo-distribution, location awareness, scalability, and ultra-low latency.
The underlying principle of MEC is to extend cloud computing capabilities to the edge of cellular networks. This will minimize network congestion and improve resource optimization, user experience and the overall performance of the network. By leveraging the Radio Access Networks (RANs), MEC will greatly improve latency and bandwidth utilization, making it easier for both application developers and content providers to access network services.
IoT has been identified as one of the key use cases of MEC. MEC is opening many new frontiers for network operators, service and content providers to deploy versatile and uninterrupted services on IoT applications. MEC and IoT facilitate each other with mutual advantages. MEC empowers tiny IoT devices with significant additional computational capabilities through computation offloading. Similarly, IoT expands MEC services to all types of smart objects ranging from sensors and actuators to smart vehicles. The key benefits of the collaboration between IoT and MEC are:
An open edge IoT platform such as IOTech’s Edge Xpert deployed on a MEC server can provide the capabilities of a gateway node, aggregating the data generated by IoT services before they reach the core network.
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