Small Cells, DAS & Het-Nets

MEC: U.S. Mobile Operator Spending, 2018-2026

Mobile operators are preparing their networks for 5G. Part of that process includes moving to software defined networking (SDN), network function virtualization (NFV). Multi-access edge computing (MEC) and Central Office Re-architected as a Data Center (CORD) are two sub-sets of the overall shift away from the traditional network architecture to one that looks more like a data center.

MEC emerged on the wireless industry stage several years ago. It has the potential to be as disruptive a technology as anything that is being discussed today – 5G New Radio, NFV/SDN, C-RAN, etc. In fact, MEC is quite likely to help realize the promise of 5G.

CORD also emerged several years ago. The goal behind CORD is to take all of the equipment in today’s central office (CO) and disaggregate the hardware and software components, virtualize the software and run it on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware. As with MEC, CORD – and its mobile-specific version (M-CORD) – is also likely to help operators deliver on 5G networks.

This report models and forecasts what U.S. mobile operators will spend putting in MEC into their networks. M-CORD is discussed because it is a related technology platform and, should M-CORD gather steam, they will likely be deployed alongside each other.

Moreover, both CORD and MEC are aspects of the same concept – network equipment and software moving from proprietary platforms to (open source) software running on COTS hardware.

This market study details the MEC spending by mobile operators on MEC for their own networks. A partner market study by iGR details the spending on MEC in the enterprise segment.


Key Questions Answered

  • What is MEC?
  • How does MEC work?
  • How does MEC relate to other edge computing initiatives, such as OpenFog, CORD Project, Open Edge Computing (OEC), Open Compute, and EdgeX Foundry?
  • What can be done with MEC?
  • What are some of the perceived benefits and issues related to MEC?
  • What are the key drivers for implementing MEC?
  • What is CORD and M-CORD?
  • What can be done with CORD and M-CORD?
  • What are some of the perceived benefits and issues related to CORD and M-CORD?
  • How much mobile operator spending is likely to occur on MEC-based solutions?

Who Should Read

  • Mobile operators
  • Infrastructure OEMs
  • Computing infrastructure OEMs
  • Small cell product and solution vendors
  • Backhaul service providers and equipment OEMs
  • Financial analysts and investors.

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Executive Summary
  • Methodology
  • What is 5G?
    • Potential 5G Use Cases
    • Latency
    • 5G Timeline
    • Potential Requirements of 5G
    • Spectrum Needs
    • Challenges Along the Road to 5G
    • What will the first 5G networks look like?
  • What is Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC)?
    • MEC Building Blocks
    • Other Edge Standards
  • Potential Use Cases for MEC
    • Intelligent video acceleration service
    • Video stream analysis
    • Augmented reality (AR)
    • Assistance for intensive computation
    • Enterprise deployments
    • Connected vehicles (CV)
    • IoT gateway
  • What is required for MEC?
    • Why MEC?
    • What is network latency?
    • Getting to sub-5 ms latency in 5G
  • Pros & Cons of MEC
    • Benefits of MEC
    • Cons of MEC
  • CORD and M-CORD
    • Pros of M-CORD
    • Cons of M-CORD
    • News Related to CORD
  • Forecast: U.S. Mobile Operator Spending on MEC
    • Methodology and Assumptions
    • Forecast: Operator Spending on MEC
  • MEC Vendor Profiles
    • Applied Computer Solutions (ACS)
    • ADVA Optical Networking
    • Allied Telesis
    • Altiostar
    • Aricent
    • Artesyn Embedded Technologies
    • Athonet
    • Amazon Web Services (AWS)
    • CPLANE NETWORKS
    • Dell
    • ECI Telecom
    • HPE
    • Huawei
    • Iguazio
    • Intel
    • InterDigital
    • Juniper Networks
    • Mavenir
    • MECSware
    • NEC
    • Nokia Networks
    • Quortus
    • Saguna Networks
    • SpiderCloud Wireless (Corning)
    • Telenity
    • Vasona Networks
    • ZTE Corporation
  • Definitions
  • About iGR
    • Disclaimer

List of Tables

  • Table 1: Some of the Companies Collaborating on CORD and/or M-CORD
  • Table 2: U.S. Operator Spending on MEC, 2018-2026 ($M)
  • Definitions Table

List of Charts and Figures

  • Figure A: U.S. Mobile Operator Spending on MEC, 2018-2026 ($M)
  • Figure 1: Wired Broadband Weighted Median Latency, Reported by FCC in 2016
  • Figure 2: Timeline for IMT-2020 (5G)
  • Figure 3: The Network without MEC
  • Figure 4: The Network with MEC
  • Figure 5: MEC Server Building Blocks
  • Figure 6: MEC Reference Architecture
  • Figure 7: Intelligent video acceleration service
  • Figure 8: Connected vehicles (CV)
  • Figure 9: IoT Gateway
  • Figure 10: How Latency Adds Up
  • Figure 11: MEC and CORD in the Network
  • Figure 12: Basic Structure of a Data Center
  • Figure 13: Overview of the Key Elements of M-CORD
  • Figure 14: Key Elements in Building CORD
  • Figure 15: Mobile Operator Network Architecture Today
  • Figure 16: Tomorrow’s Target Architecture
  • Figure 17: M-CORD Network Architecture
  • Figure 18: Today’s Mobile Service/App Processing
  • Figure 19: Local Breakout
  • Figure 20: U.S. Operator Spending on MEC, 2018-2026 (in millions)

For additional information on the MEC: U.S. Mobile Operator Spending on the New Small Cell Market, 2017-2026 market study, please contact Iain Gillott, at (512) 263-5682 or by email.