EdgePresence CEO Doug Recker is on the prowl at this year’s Connectivity Expo in Orlando. His company is looking for partners as it pursues a creative strategy for edge computing that leads to the placement of edge points of presence (PoP) at tower sites.
A PoP is an artificial demarcation point or interface point between communicating entities. EdgePresence owns and operates PoPs that provide space, power, bandwidth and interconnection on a leased basis either in multi-tenant or in single-tenant build-to-suit facilities.
The company places its PoPs, called EdgePods, at telecommunications tower sites to take advantage of such sites’ available electrical power and fiber-optic cable route connections. These locations place the PoPs closer to EdgePresence customers. According to Recker, the customers for the PoPs are the same as what he calls standard customers that would otherwise use a brick-and-mortar data center.
“A customer is someone who goes inside data centers for power, cooling and network redundancy or for connectivity and fast connections, transport and low latency,” Recker said. “These include cloud providers and retail customers, anywhere from local banks to credit unions — anyone who needs quick access, low latency and a presence in that region.”
Recker said that EdgePresence announced its project at last year’s Connectivity Expo. Since then, a tower company has agreed to make space available for PoP placement at relevant antenna sites. He said that EdgePresence has enclosures for the EdgePod PoPs, which he calls micro data centers, in production. “We have four built,” he said. “Two more are being deployed in the next two weeks.”
EdgePresence has completed its proof of concept, Recker said, and it is ready to launch in 20 markets by December. “We have customers that are installed and billing,” he said. “We have the product deployed and working in Jacksonville, Florida. We have customers and potential customers on a national scale.”
The company is deploying with tower operators now so its micro data centers will already be installed at tower sites when mobile operators need them for edge computing associated with 5G wireless communications.
“We are trying to get the product out there, but we have to have revenue on the product now, because it could take two to three years before true edge requirements develop,” Recker said. “We are at Connectivity Expo this year for the same reason we were here last year: We are looking for partners to deploy a greater number of edge micro data centers. Tower partners are talking with people about the edge, because that is where the mobile operators are. Everyone is rushing to get there, but no one has a plan. We want to get boxes out there for customers who are deployed right now.”
Vapor IO and Crown Castle International have jointly developed a service that seamlessly interconnects Vapor IO’s Kinetic Edge with Amazon Web Services (AWS) via Crown Castle’s high-speed Cloud Connect. This product enables a new class of mobile and wireless edge applications that span the continuum from edge to core. Starting today, customers at Vapor IO’s Kinetic Edge can build edge applications that interconnect with AWS over an operator-grade fiber optic network. Built atop AWS Direct Connect, this collaborative offering unlocks a powerful class of edge applications that split workloads and data between the mobile edge and centralized locations, delivering a seamless end-to-end experience.
“By directly connecting AWS services to applications at the Kinetic Edge, we’re bringing the full power of the cloud to the last mile wireless network, delivering the foundation of a true edge-to-core architecture for developers,” said Cole Crawford, founder and CEO of Vapor IO. “We are aggressively rolling out the Kinetic Edge across a national footprint that will reach over 20 markets by the end of 2020 with a planned deployment of over 80 additional markets. By incorporating AWS Direct Connect into our last mile network, we enable seamless cloud integration for edge applications.”
Customers of Vapor IO’s Kinetic Edge can build applications on AWS that directly interact with Vapor IO’s tower-connected data centers at the edge of the cellular wireless network, via Crown Castle’s dedicated high-speed fiber link. This will allow developers to build wireless and mobile edge applications that can reduce network costs, increase bandwidth throughput, and rely on a more consistent network experience than Internet-based connections.
Businesses are leading the 5G revolution, and AT&T is going to give its business customers a full 5G toolbox. We’re the first carrier to publicly lay out what we’re making available to help businesses get the most out of this technology.
America’s 15 million businesses increasingly look to technology to drive outcomes, but their needs range drastically – from connecting a single location, to using networking to connect smart facilities with the latest technologies like artificial intelligence and mixed reality.
This is why our approach to 5G in business isn’t focused on just one solution, but instead brings multiple pillars that reflect our customers’ diversity and needs. Real solutions that we’re bringing to the market today. We’re building our networks to allow fiber-based connectivity and LTE to work efficiently in parallel with 5G solutions, maximizing the impact of a business’s transformation.
Our standards-based approach comes to life via 3 main service pillars:
“The 5G services we’re rolling out and combining with our advanced network capabilities will help businesses fundamentally change for the better,” said Mo Katibeh, CMO, AT&T Business. “It will open up opportunities to increase revenue, reduce operational costs, and ultimately create amazing new experiences for employees and customers. Whether it’s a local startup, a growing regional company, or national enterprise, these 3 pillars are going to be groundbreaking.”
LTE ushered in the age of mobilization for the American worker. Almost every business has employees that use mobile devices. Whether it’s for employee communication, or for point-of-sale devices, mobile technology is more important than ever.
It is critical that any mobile 5G experience for business allows seamless transitions between Wi-Fi, LTE and 5G.
This is why we will deploy a standards-based nationwide mobile 5G network in early 2020. That network will allow for seamless handoffs between Wi-Fi, LTE and 5G, virtually anywhere a business customer may go.
So far, we’ve confirmed plans for two new 5G devices in 2019. In addition to the NETGEAR Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot we launched in 2018, we’re working with Samsung to offer two Samsung smartphones this year.
In the parts of the 12 cities where our standards-based mobile 5G network is live today, we’re working with businesses to create and innovate new experiences. As we expand the network, these businesses are helping us pave the way for the astounding impact 5G will eventually have nationwide.
We also opened a space within in our AT&T Foundry in Plano, Texas specifically dedicated to prototyping solutions for industry verticals. We’ll soon be bringing 5G to this space, allowing us to co-create 5G solutions with our customers as well as explore the future of enterprise innovation.
Whether it’s for primary connectivity or as a secondary connection to enable reliability, businesses look to fixed wireless solutions to help serve a wide range of needs, like setting up new locations faster.
With a fixed wireless solution, a quick service restaurant could get their point-of-sale devices working the same day they open, and keep their devices connected even if primary connectivity is ever interrupted.
AT&T Business now offers AT&T Wireless Broadband, which has data options and flexibility to help meet each business’s specific needs. In the coming weeks, we will offer multiple speed tiers up to 50Mbps. This solution builds on our leading fiber distribution. Nationwide, over 8 million business customer locations sit within 1,000 feet of our fiber, and we connect nearly 2.2 million locations with fiber today.
This current fixed wireless offering helps lay the groundwork for our customers to upgrade and take advantage of AT&T 5G when its available in their area.
Edge computing is expected to bring a sea-change in how businesses can use cellular data to massively improve their operations. Edge computing allows businesses to route application-specific traffic to where they need it and where it’s most effective – whether that’s in the cloud, the edge of our network or on their premises.
AT&T Business now offers AT&T Multi-access Edge Compute (MEC). This edge computing solution uses our own software-defined network to enable faster access to data processing, and gives flexibility in how businesses manage their cellular traffic through on-premise hardware and software. With MEC they can process low-latency, high-bandwidth applications closer to where they’re used to help create new outcomes and capabilities.
This could mean new machine learning opportunities and more connected devices. Healthcare facilities could process and transfer data-intensive images between devices in the exam room, and transfer that information to the doctor in near-real time. Or manufacturers could process connected sensor data and robotic operations on a scale they couldn’t before.
Plus, the data that runs through AT&T MEC can be routed to their cloud or stay within an enterprises’ private environment to help increase security.
AT&T MEC can be deployed today using LTE or 5G connectivity, for both mobile and fixed wireless applications. Looking at a smart factory as an example, robotic production lines and autonomous forklifts are just two potential uses.
We’ve recently announced deals with AT&T Stadium, and Rush University Medical Center to set up 5G with a focus on MEC.
“Healthcare systems use a lot of networking power, and 5G is going to be a turning point in how mobile networks are used in caring for patients. Using multi-access edge compute, the possibility of robotics and increased telehealth are two aspects of healthcare that we’re planning to explore,” said Dr. Shafiq Rab, senior vice president and chief information officer, Rush University Medical Center and the Rush System for Health. “Ultimately, it’s about creating better outcomes for our patients. 5G combined with MEC will give us the foundation to provide patients better service, and increase the quality of care we provide.”
As we look to the future, edge computing solutions are expected to become available to serve broader metro environments, and will give things like autonomous vehicles, AR/VR and drones new life.
We’ll be sharing more about our edge computing services this year.
We’re the First to Bring Everything Together for Businesses
AT&T is using these three pillars to help businesses move into the future. It all works together to give them the best tools to operate more efficiently, reach new customers, and increase loyalty. We are bringing the business experience into the future with 5G.
“5G is the gateway to an entirely new world for businesses, but it needs multiple technologies coming together to achieve its true potential,” said Jason Leigh, senior research analyst at IDC. “Leveraging the low latency, increased connection density and high bandwidth power of 5G will allow businesses to deploy integrated solutions that accelerate their own digital transformation, and drive productivity improvements, efficiency gains and enhance customer satisfaction faster than ever before.”
“AT&T Business brings solutions to life that allow businesses to innovate and shape the daily lives of consumers,” said Katibeh. “Our new mobile 5G, fixed wireless, and MEC services can help take businesses to the next generation of connectivity.”
Packet, a bare metal automation platform for developers, is collaborating with SBA Communications to create an edge data center operational model with direct wireless connectivity. The two companies have broken ground on the first Boston edge data center location at an SBA cell tower site in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Customer availability is expected by the end of 2018.
“We are excited to partner with Packet to bring the power of edge computing to our tower site in Foxborough, the first of what we expect will be many sites in our extensive portfolio to become distributed network connectivity points for emerging 5G and edge computing applications,” Clay Moran, director of strategy at SBA said.
Packet is expanding its edge computing presence with some 50 new sites under development. In a departure from the hyperscale cloud model, Packet is inviting physical and supply chain partners to participate in what is expected to be a highly disaggregated and rapidly expanding ecosystem.
“We view this initiative as one similar to what we are seeing from the other towercos, including CCI’s working relationship with Vapor IO (who is also working with other tower cos outside of CCI), and AMT’s goal of achieving 25% revenue from nonmacro sites,” wrote Jennifer Fritsche, senior analyst, Wells Fargo. “We continue to believe the “edge” theme is in its very early innings. In our view the towers are in a position to play a very significant role in this developing theme. The base of the tower is a logical place for a micro edge data center given the power and fiber to the location as well as the security in place. We look for more developments around this theme to come in 2019.”
The Boston edge location is the first of many planned site expansions in collaboration with SBA and other cell tower companies. In addition to offering its cloud services, Packet will also enable solutions for the 3.5 GHz CBRS band, while also offering a clear path for additional spectrum bands and the proliferation of 5G technologies and shared spectrum solutions.
“With our announcement today, we are delivering on our promise to reinvent the service provider model and deliver dynamic ‘one click’ cloud native infrastructure including wireless access,” said Ihab Tarazi, CTO at Packet. “Our customers will also have a clear path for IoT and Public Cloud integration providing high performance for their edge applications.”
Austin, Texas, has always been edgy. two weeks from now as it hosts the 2018 Edge Congress, it is going to get even edgier.
The edge is on everyone’s lips today. And with good reason. The edge is shaping up to be the most significant, single element of future networks. The edge will be a critical part of everything from 5G, to the Internet of Everything/Everyone (IoX), smart cities, and autonomous vehicles as well as all things connected. Without it, the vision of a next-generation wireless ecosystem will not happen.
This next generation of communications will move so much data that it will be impossible to manage it on a global scale. However, it is being discovered that much of that data will never move far from its origination point (wearables, IoX devices, autonomous vehicles are some examples). Therefore, managing the data locally in a concentrated sector in and around where it lives is the solution to avoiding massive data traffic jams. This is what we call the edge and managing edge data will requrie a completely different perspective than we have had to date.
Edge computing and edge facilities will be the enabling factor for super-fast and ubiquities interconnectivity. It will transform the communications infrastructure like nothing before.
Data will be analyzed and acted upon in massive deployments of small cell networks. These networks will require intelligence far beyond that of the macro infrastructure of today. Their functionality will also be significantly different. Understanding the significance of edge networks is a do or die ultimatum because of their integration with everyone and everything. If you are in any communications sector, you need to know about the edge networks.
The Edge Congress brings together a wheelhouse of experts in this arena. It will offer deep dives into what comprises the edge. Players at this conference include big names such as Intel, Dell, Edge Micro, Microsoft, EdgeConneX and more. The sessions are forward thinking and will explore every nook and cranny of this brave, new ecosystem.
Please join me in Austin October 24thand 25thfor a look at what the future of the network will look like.