5G and the Capabilities of the Network Edge | Corning

5G and the Capabilities of the Network Edge

5G and the Capabilities of the Network Edge

by Carlos Mora, Market Development Manager, Corning Optical Communications

While the cloud has played a pivotal role in enabling businesses to continue operating in recent months, a huge leap in data consumption, as well as a much more distributed workforce, has created a surge in the need for edge computing in the middle to help improve response times.

By enabling content to be hosted near the user we can avoid the latency that will inhibit our “new normal” – not to mention avoiding potential issues around cost, scalability and security if servers are in different regions.

Edge computing is particularly valuable in scenarios where local analytics and rapid response times are needed, such as in a manufacturing environment that relies on artificial intelligence or connected cars. Looking forward, 5G will play a major role in maximising the capabilities of edge data centres, ensuring the incredibly low latency that is needed for the most demanding applications and use cases.

To enable edge computing, colocation and hyperscalers are working together to provide services that will support the required response times. Colocation facilities serving as the edge can be positioned closer to users and offer the much needed flexibility in onboarding new customers or services and scalability in the face of unexpected events.

Configuring and optimising edge data centres, may include the adoption of new technologies, such as very small form factor connectivity like CS (Corning/Senko), SN (Senko Nano) or MDC (MiniDuplex) recently released to the market to provide relief on real estate and rack space needed.

Power consumption must also be managed carefully, both in the central data centre as well as on the edge – 400G transceivers, for example, would require a substantial 7-15 watts of power per port. Port-breakout deployments have become a valuable tool for de-aggregating these into lower speed ports which require less power and cooling.

Network monitoring will also be more crucial than ever to manage the security risks of users accessing the network from many different locations and devices. Here, passive optical taps can be deployed within the cabling infrastructure to allow monitoring without compromising on space or power efficiency.