AT&T Building Edge Computing Test Zone

November 7, 2017

Reprinted from RCR Wireless News

Edge computing is “next step in the evolution of our network,” AT&T says. AT&T is working on an edge computing test zone in Silicon Valley that is set to go live next year, hoping to work with developer partners to try out applications that could include self-driving cars, drones, and augmented and virtual reality.

Edge computing is one of the technologies expected to underpin “5G” networks and assist in lowering latency in both 5G and in advanced LTE networks. The test zone is being created by AT&T Foundry locations in Silicon Valley and Atlanta. AT&T said that the initial test zone “will cover several miles and could expand over time.” The edge computing test site will have an LTE connection to start, but the service provider said that it will be upgraded to 5G once the standard and network equipment are available — possibly as soon as the end of next year.

In a newly published white paper on edge computing, AT&T cited a number of the technology’s benefits for telecom companies, including reducing backhaul traffic; improving network reliability by distributing content between the edge and data centers; and quality of experience maintenance for subscribers. The carrier also mentioned that edge computing reduces total cost of ownership both by optimizing central-office infrastructure with low-cost edge solutions, and through “decomposing and dis-aggregating access functions” and opening up new potential revenue streams by “creating an opportunity for 3rd party cloud providers to host their edge clouds on the telco real estate.”