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Why MEC is essential in 5G era?

Sprouted from 4G era, edge computing exerts its strengths at the maximum in 5G era. It has even been completely integrated into the 5G network architecture.

Why we need edge computing?
Actually, in the information network, the relationship between “center” and “edge” is opposite to our common sense.

mobile edge computing

It can be seen from the above picture that the central node of network is composed by all kinds of equipment and complex architecture of accessing, exchanging and transmitting to meet the multiple requirements from various terminals in the edge of network: personal communication, amusement, smart home, industrial operation and so on.

The development of technology is motivated by the rising demand in our lives. To reach the high standard required by rising demand of applications, one of the most effective methods is to shorten the distance of data transmitting, deploying the serving network node to the edge of network instead of the center. In this way, the shorter distance between network node and users enables low-latency, wide bandwidth and massive connection to become possible.
This solution is known as MEC (Multi-access Edge Computing).

MEC can be compared to the nervous system of octopus. Only processing 40% information, the brain of octopus is in charge of the overall coordination, and distributes the rest of 60% information to other tentacles (edge nodes) to deal with it.
This is the reason why edge computing is crucial for connecting every things together in 5G era.

What is MEC (Multi-access Edge computing)?
The concept of MEC derived from a computing platform called Cloudlet at Carnegie Mellon University in 2009. To lower latency, the functions on the cloud server were deployed to edge servers of this computing platform.
In 2013, ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) officially defined the concept of MEC and established a panel to start up related work of standardization.
In 2016, ETSI updated the concept of MEC as Multi-access Edge Computing.
With the promotion of ETSI, 3GPP and other Organizations for Standardization are also devoted into the work of standardization. Nowadays, MEC has evolved to one of the most significant technology in 5G mobile communication system.

To understand the essence of MEC, you need to know four basic concept related to MEC: cloud platform, edge computing nodes, network and user equipment. They become an coordinated organic whole.
· Cloud platform, the infrastructure and resources for supporting cloud computing, is the central node providing services.
· Edge computing nodes is the nearest serving nodes for user equipment. 
· Network plays a significant role between edge nodes and subscribers.
· User equipment is the terminals including mobile phone, tablet, television and other equipment connected to the Internet.

The next article we will talk about how to deploy MEC, stay tuned!
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