MEC * Activity Report

MEC Activity Report 2018-2019

Chairman: Alex Reznik, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise 

Tasked with developing specifications that will allow the hosting of operator and third-party applications in a multi-vendor Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) environment and accelerating the development of edge applications across the industry, to increase market scale and improve market economics.

A key enabler for 5G, Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) technology enables IT service and Cloud computing capabilities at the edge of the access network.

Shifting processing power away from remote data centres and closer to the end user, it enables an environment that is characterized by proximity and ultra-low latency, and provides exposure to real-time network and context information.

Giving access to a tightly-controlled set of services via standardized Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), MEC lets operators open their networks to authorized third parties, allowing them to rapidly deploy innovative new applications and services for use by subscribers, enterprises and vertical segments. 

MEC is identified as a key enabler for the IoT and mission-critical vertical solutions, from interactive gaming and Virtual Reality to Intelligent Transport Systems and the industrial Internet. Advancing the transformation of the mobile broadband network into a programmable environment, it satisfies the demanding requirements of these and other applications (on emerging 5G as well as existing 3G/4G systems) in terms of expected throughput, latency, scalability and automation. It also offers additional privacy and security and ensures significant cost savings.

Our Multi-access Edge Computing Industry Specification Group (ISG MEC) creates a standardized environment that allows seamless integration of applications from vendors, service providers and third-parties across multi-vendor MEC platforms.

Phase 1 of the group’s work focused on the reference architecture, API framework and guiding principles, Operations and Management APIs, including integration with ETSI NFV, and Platform Service API specifications (Application Enablement, Radio Network Information Service, Location Service, User Equipment Identity Service, Bandwidth Management Service and User Equipment Application Enablement).  Notably, the Platform Service APIs are all released as serialized JSON/YAML OpenAPI compliant specs on the ETSI Forge (forge.etsi.org) 

During 2018, ISG MEC was actively pursuing Phase 2 activities, driven by new use cases and requirements to address topics such as charging, regulatory compliance, support of mobility, support of containers, support of non-3GPP mobile networks, and key vertical use cases such as automotive Work on integration with ETSI’s ISG on Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) is also planned for completion during Phase 2 and active collaboration with ETSI NFV on moving this forward is in progress.

We continued to use Proofs of Concept (PoCs) to demonstrate the viability of MEC implementations, with the results being channelled back into specification activities. By the end of 2018 there were a total twelve approved MEC PoCs, addressing different aspects of application. Moreover, to highlight the transition of MEC from development and towards deployment, we approved a new method for demonstrating commercial deployments of MEC, called MEC Deployment Trials (MDTs). As of the end of 2018, two MDTs had been approved and are on-going. 

The interest of the group is transitioning from its early exploratory phase to an expanded focus on operational and implementation issues. In addition to MDTs, this is reflected in work on testing and compliance – with 4 work items approved and open; a focus on supporting interoperability through hackathons (the first one held at the 2018 Edge Computing Congress in Berlin) and planning for Plugtests; and continuing efforts on educating the MEC community through publication of white papers on key topics related to MEC. The current list of available white papers includes publications on SW development for MEC (with an update in progress); MEC and CRAN; MEC’s role in evolution from 4G to 5G; MEC’s role in 5G; and MEC in Enterprise setting. At the end of 2018 we approved the creation of a new working group (DECODE), to be focused exclusively on issues related to deployment and ecosystem development of MEC. 

LOOK OUT FOR IN 2019 – ISG MEC WORK IN PROGRESS:

  • Group Specification (GS) on API Conformance Test Specification
  • Group Report (GR) on MEC Testing Framework, defining methodology for development of interoperability and/or conformance test strategies, test systems and resulting test specifications for MEC standards
  • GR describing ETSI MEC RESTful APIs using OpenAPI specification
  • GR on MEC 5G Integration
  • GS on MEC Vehicular-to-Everything (V2X) API, describing V2X-related information flows, required information and operations
  • GS on Fixed Access Information API for Fibre (PON,XG-PON,NG-PON), Cable (DOCSIS 3.1),xDSL and Point-to-Point Fibre Ethernet access to MEC
  • GS on WLAN Information API, describing information flows, required information, necessary operations, data model and data format
  • GR on MEC support for containers / alternative virtualization technologies
  • GR on support for network slicing
  • GS on API for end-to-end ME application mobility support
  • Revision to GS on MEC Location API
  • Revision to GS on Radio Network Information API
  • Revision to GS on Edge Platform Application Enablement
  • Revision to GS on MEC Management - application lifecycle, rules and requirements
  • Revision to GS on MEC Proof of Concept (PoC) Framework
  • Revision to GS on MEC framework and reference architecture
  • GS on MEC IoT API