What is Multi-access Edge Computing?
Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC or sometimes MAEC), formerly Mobile Edge Computing, is a network architecture that enables cloud computing capability at the edge of the network. Originally proposed as capabilities provided at the edge of a cellular network, it has been extended to be the edge of any network. In fact the original proposal states that capabilities are provided within the RAN.
The basic idea behind MEC is that by running applications and processing tasks closer to the subscriber or user, certain applications run better – those with low latency or high bandwidth, for example – and network congestion can be reduced, especially in the access layer of a network.
In a cellular network, MEC technology would typically be deployed at the base station sites, and, as for any cloud resource, enables flexible and rapid deployment of new applications and services for users. In fixed line networks the capability could be deployed at the edge of the broadband access circuit, perhaps at a MSAN or a BRAS, and scenarios could be envisaged for other network types including Wi-Fi and cable systems.
MEC has been designed to allow cellular operators to open the RAN to authorized third parties, such as application developers and content providers.