Find Your Edge: 5G Networks

Author: Kevin Shatzkamer

The industry really can’t stop talking about the edge. In the interest of not starting a classic “edge” conversation with a definition, let’s focus very specifically about its role as a new business model for 5G. From a Telco perspective, 5G enables a whole range of new applications and services that will open the doors to new revenue streams and provide a path to differentiation. 

Aligning business outcomes to vertical industry requirements to operating models to technology enablers has become the foundation for how Dell Technologies is discussing the edge with our Telco customers and partners globally.  For Telco, the “edge” is both a network architecture optimization intended to improve experiences over cellular, but also a key control point for the development of differentiated services.

We talk about the edge as an enabler for 5G data-driven business models – real-time processing of data from “things” and devices, when the decisions need to be made quickly before the data loses relevance; but we also need to discuss how 5G is an enabler for the edge – bringing a disaggregated, cloud-native user-plane to allow applications and services to connect in closer proximity (and lower latency) to the “things” and devices. 5G and edge are symbiotes, even as both 5G and edge computing have use cases that are independent of each other.

While there are a lot of unknowns still as to what the edge will look like (Physically obviously. Virtually, it will materialize as containers on bare metal), one thing for sure is there are no two identical edge deployments. Many questions need to be answered when designing the edge including - what are the use cases that are going to justify the investment? Operations-first (driven by network function) or business-first (driven by enterprise use-case)? What are the unique vertical industry requirements? How impactful will the edge be to service experience? How significant will operational savings be? Every situation is different!

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