ZTE has put forward its ‘Cloud-Fog collaboration’ concept as a possible option for use in mobile edge computing (MEC) solutions for mobile networks. The concept was presented at the 8th ITU-T CTO meeting in Thailand. The company reported that it ‘generated positive responses from experts in attendance’.
This meeting focused on development trends for 5G, IoT, and ITU-T standards. During the presentation, ZTE analysed online video, augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR), large-scale IoT and other application scenarios, arguing that fog computing and multi-access edge computing have similar concepts, which will be unified in the ‘cloud-fog collaboration’ system architecture.
ZTE believes that the application scenarios for 5G and the IoT are essentially similar, complementary and co-existent. The generation, transmission, and processing of massive data must rely on a solid cloud platform.
The company went on to say that although cloud computing has logically integrated resources, the services of the big data era, such as online video, AR and VR have strict requirements for cache, delay, policy control and security. If data completely relies on ‘heavyweight cloud computing’ in which customers and servers are far away, bottlenecks will be caused.
Whereas if lightweight fog computing, mobile edge computing, or multi-access edge computing redefined by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) are deployed on the edge (IoT gateway and baseband pool) of the network, and the requirements for the fixed/mobile convergence (FMC) scenario are considered, the load in the upper-layer cloud computing centre will be reduced, and strong support will be provided for the aforementioned delay-sensitive services.
At the meeting, ZTE also pointed out that edge computing is essentially lightweight cloud computing, and will be integrated with network slicing, software defined networking/network functions virtualisation (SDN/NFV) and other technologies to allow mutual improvement.
Additionally, edge, regional and central data centres will be unified as components in the architecture. This enables multi-level distributed cloud deployment, on-demand network slicing, sensitive service chains, dynamic scheduling, efficient new function introduction, maximum software and hardware decoupling, as well as strict separation of forwarding and control. Ultimately, the end-to-end and full-procedure network-wide service delivery required by all types of users will be provided.