MEC deployment challenges in 4G scenarios and build up for 5G.


ETSI has come up with its new whitepaper on MEC, a much curated technology for making 5G a true application defined network. MEC will be a consultative driven approach for selecting the right kind of scenarios and application deploment as looking obvious here below recommendations.

As per the GS MEC 011 [2] specification, a key baseline functionality of the MEC platform is to route IP packets to MEC applications which are meant to handle the traffic in the following different ways:
 In Breakout mode, the session connection is redirected to a MEC application which is either hosted locally on the MEC platform or on a remote server. Typical breakout applications include local CDN, gaming and media content services, and enterprise LAN.
 In In-line mode, the session connectivity is maintained with the original (Internet) server, while all traffic traverses the MEC application. In-line MEC applications include transparent content caching and security applications.  In Tap mode, specified traffic is duplicated and forwarded to the tap MEC application, for example, when deploying virtual network probes or security applications.
 In Independent mode, no traffic offloading function is needed, but still the MEC application is registered in the MEC platform and will receive other MEC services, such as DNS, Radio Network Information Service (RNIS), etc. Steering traffic to/from MEC applications is achieved by configuring the MEC’s local DNS and the MEC host’s data plane accordingly.

From the list above, it appears straightforward that the implementationspecific details of the data plane within the MEC host (as per the MEC architecture in GS MEC 003 [3]) and the MEC platform, which is meant to program the data plane through Mp2 interface, are impacted by the point where the MEC host is installed in the 4G architecture. Many choices are possible, but all in all they can be condensed down into some base scenarios.

Also going for 5G.

The common feature set of providing much-improved capabilities at the edge of the network, improved intelligence about resources needed at the edge, and the ability to charge for service delivered by cycles, memory, storage and bandwidth delivered, makes it very attractive to start the deployment now in early test sites, roll out to sites that show promise and need for MEC based applications, and then roll out as part of the 5G transition without losing any upfront investment from the earlier test deployments. Taking into account the above considerations, in the next sections we illustrate how MEC compatibility towards 5G networks may involve:
 Integrating the MEC data plane with the 5G system’s one for routing traffic to the local data network and steering to an application;
 An Application Function (AF) interacting with 5G control plane functions to influence traffic routing and steering, acquire 5G network capability information, and support application instance mobility;
 The possibility of reusing the edge computing resources and managing/orchestrating applications and/or 5G network functions, while MEC still orchestrates the application services (chaining). Go through Complete whitepaper of ETSI here below.