AT&T is driving forward on its multi-access edge compute (MEC) ambitions by working with HPE to deliver services to businesses.
AT&T and HPE announced on Wednesday that they have agreed to a go-to-market program to accelerate business adoption of edge computing and edge connections. Whether it's edge computing, FOG computing, or MEC, edge compute is all about moving applications closer to the network edge and the end users.
Moving applications to the edge provides faster processing and lower latency, as well as the potential for improved security. AT&T Multi-Access Edge Computing Services allow businesses to take advantage of AT&T's cellular coverage, including LTE today and 5G down the road, to manage cellular traffic through virtual network functions (VNFs.)
The partnership has paired AT&T Multi-Access Edge Computing Services with HPE's Edgeline Converged Edge Systems to help create uses cases where applications can reside on premises for lower latency processing. The partnership is a work in progress with no specific timing in regard to when it will be implemented.
In February, HPE announced that it had upgraded its edge platform to help carriers transition to 5G services. HPE's Edgeline EL8000 Converged Edge System was designed to help service providers process data intensive, low-latency services directly at the edge of networks. In addition to 5G, HPE said the EL8000 was also ideal for provisioning smart cities, artificial intelligence, video analytics and media delivery.
While islands of 5G deployments are taking place this year, 5G won't really start to ramp until 2020 or later. In order to help grease the migration to 5G, service providers are starting to tap into MEC software to deliver some of the benefits of 5G. HPE previously said it was partnering with systems integrator Tech Mahindra, which develops MEC software, to create MEC solutions.
AT&T and HPE are working with enterprises on proof of concepts across IoT, machine learning and augmented reality ahead of large-scale deployments of those services and applications.
“AT&T’s software-defined network, including our 5G network, combined with HPE’s intelligent edge infrastructure can give businesses a flexible tool to better analyze data and process low-latency, high-bandwidth applications,” said AT&T Business' Mo Katibeh, chief marketing officer, in a statement. “Bringing compute power closer to our network helps businesses push the boundaries of what is possible and create innovative new solutions.”