Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) (2024)

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Introduction

Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) offers application developers and content providers cloud-computing capabilities and an IT service environment at the edge of the network. This environment is characterized by ultra-low latency and high bandwidth as well as real-time access to radio network information that can be leveraged by applications.

MEC provides a new ecosystem and value chain. Operators can open their Radio Access Network (RAN) edge to authorized third-parties, allowing them to flexibly and rapidly deploy innovative applications and services towards mobile subscribers, enterprises and vertical segments.Also, many edge deployment options are possible, from on-premise edge to network edge. Furthermore, service providers can also collaborate among them and with cloud providers in a federated way.

Strategic relevance of MEC

MEC is a natural development in the evolution of mobile base stations and the convergence of IT and telecommunications networking.Multi-access Edge Computing will enable new vertical business segments and services for consumers and enterprise customers. Use cases include:

  • V2X
  • Drones
  • Gaming
  • video analytics
  • location services
  • Internet-of-Things (IoT)
  • augmented reality
  • optimized local content distribution and
  • data caching

MECuniquely allows software applications to tap into local content and real-time information about local-access network conditions.By deploying various services and caching content at the network edge, core networks are alleviated of further congestion and can efficiently serve local purposes.It is worth noting that MEC (as per the acronym, i.e. Multi-access Edge Computing) is not only focused on mobile networks, butalso fixed and WLAN accesses, for example.

MEC industry standards and deployment of MEC platforms will act as enablers for new revenue streams to operators, vendors and third-parties. Differentiation will be enabled through the unique applications deployed in the Edge Cloud.

MEC completed its ‘Phase 3’ mid-April 2024 and currently focuses on its ‘Phase 4’ activities that consider a complex heterogeneous cloud ecosystem. This work embraces MEC security enhancements, consolidating the development of MEC Federation, addressing multi-domain and multi-tenancy slicing and MEC support for application slicing, also addressing the recommendations coming from the study on Abstracted Radio Network Information for Industries, expanded traditional cloud and NFV Life Cycle Management (LCM) approaches, and mobile or intermittently connected components and consumer-owned cloud resources. The MEC Phase 4 work will be critical also to support edge native applications leveraging the evolutions of communication systems toward 6G.

Our Role & Activities

The Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) initiative is an Industry Specification Group (ISG) within ETSI. The purpose of the ISG is to create a standardized, open environment which will allow the efficient and seamless integration of applications from vendors, service providers, and third-parties across multi-vendor Multi-access Edge Computing platforms.

The initiative aims to benefit a number of entities within the value chain, including mobile operators, application developers, Over the Top (OTT) players, Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), telecom equipment vendors, IT platform vendors, system integrators, andtechnology providers; all of these parties are interested in delivering services based on Multi-access Edge Computing concepts.

The work of the MEC initiative aims to unite the telco and IT-cloud worlds, providing IT and cloud-computing capabilities within the RAN (Radio Access Network). The MEC ISG specifies the elements that are required to enable applications to be hosted in a multi-vendor multi-access edge computing environment.

MEC also enables applications and services to be hosted ‘on top’ of the mobile network elements, i.e. above the network layer. These applications and services can benefit from being in close proximity to the customer and from receiving local radio-network contextual information.

The work of the ISG includes development of normative specifications, as well as informative reports and white papers.

The DECODE Working Groupis further focused on easing the implementation path for vendors, operators and application developers by providingSW implementation of APIs; developing a testing and compliance framework and a sandbox environment to be used in application development. All these are being made available throughETSI FORGEand in the case of the MEC sandbox, a dedicated portal.

The group also actively works to help enable and promote the MEC ecosystem by hostingProof-of-Concept (PoC)andMEC Deployment Trial (MDT) environments as well as supporting and running Hackathons.

Call for active participation

The various players in the value chain are invited to actively participate in the ISG and to contribute to the development of the specifications based on industry consensus. This is important, since it will ensure that the stakeholders are represented in this newly emerging ecosystem. The participants are encouraged to share best practices and demonstrate Proofs of Concepts (PoCs) and contribute to the various tasks of WG DECODE.

Upcoming meetings

MEC have weekly Tech calls each Wednesday, 1 - 3 pm UTC

  • MEC#39, 9-13 September 2024, in Dalian (China) and online
  • MEC#40, 9-13 December 2024, in Athens (GR) and online
  • MEC Tech-F2F#9, 22-24 October 2024, in Turin (IT)

MEC DECODE have bi-weekly Tech calls each Thursday, 3:30 to 4:30 pm CET/CEST, plus dedicated sessions during the plenary weeks.

Specifications

A full list of related specifications in the public domain is accessible via the MEC committee page.

Blog

News, comments and opinions from ETSI’s MEC Industry Specification Group

The direct link to refer to this blog ishttps://www.etsi.org/newsroom/blogs/blog-mec

Dario SABELLA, MEC Chair

17 April 2024

MEC, interoperable API exposure, software focus

Blog-MEC

2024-04-17

Hello, I have promised to come back to you once we have announced the MEC Phase3 finalization. So, here you can find the Press Release issued by ETSI, related to publications of our last Phase3 deliverables, but also announcing the start of some relevant work for Phase4.

As a couple of hints more, I wanted to signal you:

The forthcoming ETSI Webinar on "CAPIF from Standards to Practice: Synergy between 3GPP, ETSI MEC and OpenCAPIF ", planned for April 30th, 2024, with speakers from these three groups. The webinar is in my opinion a great example of fruitful collaboration between ETSI MEC and 3GPP, in the view of enabling interoperable API consumption from various API invokers, and can be relevant for application developers as the aim is to provide an excellent piece of information on this complex standardization activity, together with the possibility to understand the possible synergies of MEC with the recently established Software Development Group (SDG) in ETSI called OpenCAPIF.

Second aspect of interest is the progress of the newly started ETSI STF (Special Task Force) "Edge Native Connector ". This STF 678 is planned to build on the MEC Sandbox, and will deliver an edge application development experimentation environment, based on the cross-organisation harmonisation efforts that have been led by ETSI MEC. That includes alignment with 3GPP, in particular the WG SA6 defined EDGEAPP architecture (stage 2) with associated CT1 & CT3 specified APIs (stage 3); GSMA’s Operator Platform, which facilitates edge federation and capability exposure to application service providers; 5GAA, who have provided V2X related requirements directly to ISG MEC. This activity can also enable future synergies in MEC Phase4 with OpenCAPIF.

…Well, if the above information on MEC is still too technical for you, you may want to start from the basics, and have a look at our Wiki page (https://mecwiki.etsi.org/), where we have added also a nice Q&A session, on “everything you wanted to know about MEC”. Also, we plan to update this page with additional Q&A in the future. Enjoy the reading!!

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Dario SABELLA, MEC Chair

01 February 2024

An outstanding end of 2023, and great finalization of MEC Phase 3 work

Blog-MEC

Hi MEC community!! Long-time-no-write!

Last MEC plenary in December 2023 in Dubai was simply amazing, also coupled with a great "Standardization Day: ETSI meets UAE".

Here, I had the pleasure to talk, together with other speakers from the industry and also the ETSI Director General. During the MEC plenary, among the other things, we have discussed our collaborations with open-source (e.g. CAMARA) and industry groups, and also continued the definition of MEC Phase 4 (2024-2026) and its role in future systems.

In general, I'm pleased to say that I've also seen a great joint effort and fantastic collaboration among all the delegates, to finally converge with all the outstanding work from Phase 3.

Now, I am just writing you this quick blog post, to let you know that the group is finally about to close, with many great achievements, our MEC Phase 3 work!

So, stay tuned for the forthcoming publications of our deliverables and join us at MEC#37 meeting in Cupertino (USA), 18-22 March 2024!

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Nurit Sprecher, NOKIA

10 August 2023

MEC for Drones Panel: Unlocking 5G Edge Value for the Drone Industry

Technologies

Blog-MEC

The emerging drone industry is undergoing significant growth and innovation. It provides services to a wide range of industries and applications, including security, safety and defense, disaster response, precision agriculture, environmental monitoring, measurement and inspection in constructions, shipping logistics, land surveying and mapping, aerial photography and video, etc. The variety of applications for drones is expected to expand.

The drone industry is leveraging continued advances in technology, including improved battery life, better obstacle avoidance systems, enhanced camera capabilities, specialized sensors, communications and the integration of artificial intelligence for autonomous flight and data analysis.

The integration of 5G technology with drones opens up new possibilities and revolutionizes the capabilities of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in terms of connectivity, remote operation, and collaboration between drones (drone swarms), etc. Furthermore, the 5G edge brings significant value to the drone industry by enabling low latency and reliability, providing scalable and efficient processing capabilities of data from their onboard sensors and camaras, ensuring data privacy and security and improving autonomy in drones that allows them to make faster and more intelligent decisions locally – without relying on continuous communication with a central server. This is particularly essential for critical real-time decisions required, for example, for safety applications. It also allows drones to react faster to changing environmental conditions and unexpected events. For example, they can adjust their flight paths, avoid obstacles or change their mission parameters in real time.

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Dario SABELLA, MEC Chair

15 June 2023

A nice discussion with various speakers on Telco Edge Cloud evolution toward NaaS

Technologies

Blog-MEC

Hi MEC community!

I am back again with a quick blog post, as I simply wanted to attract your attention to a nice Industry Panel that I had the pleasure and honor to organize at the IEEE ICC 2023 conference. This panel was on “Telco Edge Cloud evolution toward Network-as-a-Service (NaaS)”, and I was there also with my role of Chairman of ETSI MEC, and inviting many speakers coming from various companies and industry organizations, and also representing various projects (e.g. GSMA and CAMARA, to mention a few).
In fact, as most of you well know, MEC is involved in a standardization activity (also in alignment with 3GPP) to put in place MEC Federation standards, also by considering the requirements from GSMA OPG (Operator Platform Group). The effort from the industry is also including open source and other business agreements, thus not only standards!
That’s the reason for this great panel, i.e. bringing together various voices, also from partners, hyperscalers, and (why not!) also discuss legal implications for these multi-party collaborations. As we discussed at the panel, the ecosystem of NaaS stakeholders is thus quite huge and heterogeneous, including operators, edge service providers, cloud providers, vertical segments, SW companies, open-source and developers communities, etc… So, definitely, the common intention is to collaborate.
The final goal will be certainly to provide more value globally to MEC ecosystem and all end-users! Enjoy the slides from the panel (here).

Stay tuned also for any further news and updates on this topic, if you are interested!

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Dario SABELLA, MEC Chair

21 December 2022

MEC can serve multiple vertical markets

Blog-MEC

Hello folks, I have again to ask apologies for my not-very-frequent blog posts, but really this 2022 is (was) a dense and interesting year! A lot of nice developments and progresses from MEC, as the group is ramping up with Phase 3 work (BTW, stay tuned for the forthcoming announcements on many outstanding deliverables!). In the meantime, I just wanted to inform you that at the MEC#32 plenary the ISG has approved the updated publication in our MEC Leadership webpage (here) with the list of recently appointed LS Officers for the Vertical Industries. They can be our ambassadors, to support on the dialogue with various organizations: in fact, as we know MEC is serving multiple use cases and vertical industries, and ETSI ISG MEC has already established collaborations with a number of external organizations (e.g. automotive), and plans to increase the other domains (e.g. industrial automation, drones, CDN/videostreaming..). Here, I expect nice progresses from the dialogue with these verticals, also related to possible impacts on the Work Item MEC 043 about “Abstracted Radio Network Information for Industries” (the study item will study use cases, key issues and recommendations related to exposing abstracted radio network information for the industries).

Finally, I wanted to exploit the opportunity to wish you all a good Holiday break. Please take care, enjoy a deserved rest, and recharge your batteries, looking forward for a great 2023!

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Nurit Sprecher, ISG ZSM Vice-Chair

04 October 2022

Creating value at the edge of the 5G network with the best of Israeli technology and creativity

Technologies

Blog-MEC

We at Nokia had the pleasure of taking advantage of the MEC (Multi-access Edge Computing) global standardization conference that we hosted at our offices in Israel by organizing a unique exposure day on September 18, 2022 for Israeli technology companies which benefit or can benefit from operating in the 5G Edge Cloud ecosystem. To learn about the characteristics of the 5G edge cloud and the value it can create, see my blog on 5G Edge Computing.

To bring everyone up to speed, Shlomi Angi, our CTO of Nokia Israel, provided an informative introduction to 5G and edge cloud.

It was fascinating to hear from representatives of ELTA, Nexar, Eye-Net, Autotalks, Continual, Sensorz, Mov.ai, Onelayer, Qwilt, InceptionXR and Dataloop about innovative services and solutions that they offer in diverse fields.

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Dario SABELLA, MEC Chair

21 March 2022

How much MEC progressed (Spoiler: quite a lot)

Blog-MEC

Hello again, and sorry for not writing so frequently. A lot of things happened in these busy months!

ISG MEC have updated some key Phase 2 specifications, and it is continuously progressing on the current Phase 3 work. I can only say “kudos” to the rapporteurs and actual leaders of this tremendous amount of work (you can find more information in the recent ETSI press release, and also details in this short summary.

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Dario SABELLA, MEC Chair

06 December 2021

MEC towards multi-cloud federation

Blog-MEC

A lot of time has passed since my last blog post, sorry for not reaching out to you, folks! Very busy period. Also, a lot of nice things are happening, and ISG MEC is continuously growing in membership, attracting new companies that are actively contributing to the standardization.

Our collaboration with 5GAA (now joining MEC!) is also well established with the identification of two MEC observers, Maxime Flament (CTO, 5GAA) and Luca Boni (Stellantis) who are acting as 5GAA representatives in MEC. The collaboration with Akraino is now also moving forward with the guidance of Jane Shen (Mavenir, Akraino TSC member and ETSI MEC Technical Expert) and Oleg Berzin (Equinix, Akraino TSC Co-Chair and PCEI PTL). Finally, we’ve recently held the 2021 edition of the MEC Hackathon (see results here, published as part of our renewed MEC Wiki page, https://mecwiki.etsi.org/).The MEC Sandbox is continuously updated with new functionalities, also used for the MEC Hackathon.

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Dario SABELLA, MEC Chair

10 June 2021

MY FIRST 100 DAYS AS NEW MEC CHAIR

Technologies

Blog-MEC

Last March 2021, I’ve started my new journey in ETSI MEC, taking over the Chair position from my friend Alex Reznik (HPE). Sure, of course I’m not a “beginner” in this group (as most of you who know me can appreciate that I’m there in the MEC Leadership Team since the beginning of the Phase 1!). Nonetheless, given the great work done together in these amazing years in collaboration with all MEC stakeholders, I’m grateful of the trust of many companies who elected me and expressed their warm support in my new role.

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Alex Reznik, Former Chair of MEC ISG

03 March 2021

4 amazing years as MEC Chair

Technologies

Blog-MEC

Last week I transitioned the position of Chair of ETSI MEC over to Dario Sabella from Intel. Having spent four amazing years serving as the Chair of this group, I am happy to see it in such good hands. For years Dario has been a significant contributor and an enthusiastic advocate of our work. He’s been the driving force behind many of our Hackathons. Moreover, Intel’s support and commitment for the group is a strong signal of our importance. The best days for MEC are in the future and this is where all of us should look. Still, leaving a position such as this, one does tend to reflect on one’s years of tenure and so for my last blog as Chair I am going to do just that.

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Alex Reznik, Chair of MEC ISG

19 August 2020

Convergence in the MEC ecosystem

Blog-MEC

I’ve been looking over some of my previous entries lately and noticed how many were touching on the subject of interaction between ETSI MEC and other standard and open source bodies. The subject is indeed still one of significant interest and the question about “fragmentation” and “competition” is one that comes up much too frequently.

Those of you who’ve read some of my previous musings on this subject might recall my position on this subject. Standards and open source serve very different functions: standards ensure interoperability between components where it may be necessary and open source provides implementations of such components. As such, the two types of bodies are highly complementary. Moreover, I’ve also maintained that even in the standards space itself little duplication of effort exists around MEC. Alas, hard evidence to support my view was previously missing – but that is changing fast.

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Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) (2024)

FAQs

What does multi-access mean in MEC? ›

Multi-access edge computing (MEC) is a type of network architecture that provides cloud computing capabilities and an IT service environment at the edge of the network. The goal of MEC is to reduce latency, ensure highly efficient network operation and service delivery, and improve the customer experience.

What is multi-access edge computing MEC in 5G? ›

MEC and 5G:

While multi-access edge computing refers to the edge of any network, mobile edge computing refers to the edge of only the mobile network. Verizon 5G Edge is a mobile edge computing platform that enables developers to build applications for wireless edge devices with lower latency.

What is the difference between MEC and edge computing? ›

Conventional Edge Computing is a network computing technology that processes and analyzes data at the edge terminal itself or at a computer placed near the terminal. Among edge computing technologies, MEC differs as it is a standard that considers mobile communications.

What are the benefits of multi-access edge computing (MEC solutions)? ›

Improved Quality of Service (QoS): MEC provides a consistent and reliable computing environment at the network edge, which can improve the QoS of various types of applications and services, such as video streaming, data analytics, and machine learning.

What is MEC in Microsoft? ›

Deliver ultra-low-latency networking, applications, and services at the enterprise edge.

Is mobile edge computing and multi-access edge computing the same? ›

Multi-access edge computing (MEC), formerly mobile edge computing, is an ETSI-defined network architecture concept that enables cloud computing capabilities and an IT service environment at the edge of the cellular network and, more in general at the edge of any network.

What are the challenges of multi-access edge computing? ›

Tackling 5 Challenges of Multi-Access Edge Computing
  • Real estate. The closer to the user edge computing gets, the more complicated the real estate issue gets. ...
  • Power. ...
  • Physical environment. ...
  • Fiber and network co-location. ...
  • Operations.

What is MEC used for? ›

Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) moves the computing of traffic and services from a centralized cloud to the edge of the network and closer to the customer. Instead of sending all data to a cloud for processing, the network edge analyzes, processes, and stores the data.

What is the difference between MEC and cloud computing? ›

Whereas traditional cloud computing occurs on remote servers that are situated far from the user and device, MEC allows processes to take place in base stations, central offices, and other aggregation points on the network.

What is an advantage of MEC? ›

MEC provides a new ecosystem and value chain. Operators can open their Radio Access Network (RAN) edge to authorized third-parties, allowing them to flexibly and rapidly deploy innovative applications and services towards mobile subscribers, enterprises and vertical segments.

Why is MEC important for 5G? ›

5G MEC supports connectivity and computing synergy to provide more efficient interactions with end users. Enterprises are able to utilize powerful telecom network capabilities such as high speed mobility, SLA assurance, and location services.

What are the applications of MEC? ›

Key use cases for Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) include real-time analytics, Internet of Things (IoT) applications, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), smart cities, content delivery, and autonomous vehicles.

What does multi-access mean? ›

noun. computing a system in which several users are permitted to have apparently simultaneous access to a computer.

What are MEC categories? ›

The MEC system comprises five broad categories: MEC1: Fully Employable and Deployable. MEC2: Employable and Deployable with Restrictions. MEC3: Rehabilitation.

What is multi-access network? ›

Multi-access networks, are networks that consist of more than 2 devices sharing the same media. In the example shown below, the three routers and three PCs are interconnected using the two switches at the center of the topology.

What is the structure of the MEC? ›

About the MECs

The Premier appoints the Members of the Executive Council (MECs) from among the MPLs. There may be up to ten MECs in each province. (The exception is the Western Cape whose provincial Constitution allows for the additional appointment of up to two non-voting MECs from outside the Legislature.)

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