Verizon Successfully Tests Edge Computing on Live 5G Network, Cutting Latency in Half

HOUSTON, TX – Verizon has announced via a press release that their engineers have successfully tested edge computing on a live 5G network, cutting latency in half. This will place compute power much closer to the user. Verizon exclaims that edge computing will be increasingly vital as next generation wireless experiences emerge.

Verizon engineers installed Multi-access Edge Compute (MEC) equipment and MEC platform software in a newly formed 5G test bed in Houston. The Verizon team enabled an AI-enabled facial recognition application to identify people. Using MEC equipment located in the network facility, the application was able to analyze information right at the edge of the network where the application was being used (instead of traversing multiple hops to the nearest centralized data center). As a result, the engineers were able to successfully identify the individual twice as fast as when they duplicated the experiment using the centralized data center.

“For applications requiring low latency, sending huge quantities of data to and from the centralized cloud is no longer practical. Data processing and management will need to take place much closer to the user. MEC moves application processing, storage, and management to the Radio Access Network’s edge to deliver the desired low latency experiences, thereby enabling new disruptive technologies,” wrote Adam Koeppe, Verizon’s Senior Vice President for Network Planning.

“This shift in where the application processing occurs, the inherent capabilities of 5G to move data more efficiently, and our use of millimeter wave spectrum is a game-changer when it comes to the edge computing capabilities we can provide,” Koeppe continued. “…to achieve near-zero latency, where data moves many times faster than the blink of an eye, having computing functions closer to the user is a vital step…with this test, we have shown how much of an impact the move towards a MEC-based network architecture can make.”

“As 5G rolls out, we will see a rise in wireless applications that are heavily dependent on low latency,” wrote Karen Schulz, the media contact for Verizon who penned the press release. “Consider, for example, vivid, immersive Virtual Reality (VR). This requires accurate syncing of video playback with the physical movements of the user. Any lag, even small, can lead to imperceptible differences between what a user sees and experiences, which is why some people get dizziness or nausea when using VR. If information for the headset is travelling over a network, you need super low latency to ensure there is no lag (wait time). In a future where cutting edge innovations like self-driving cars and remote-controlled robotics are envisioned, having near-zero latency is even more critical.”