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The Critical Role Collocation Plays in 5G Edge Computing

By Don Bishop, executive editor, associate publisher, AGL Magazine

The edge is about user experience and application performance, and 5G wireless communications represents a last-mile access methodology.


The edge can mean different things to different people, according to Ben Green, vice president of sales for network, channel and enterprise at CoreSite. The simple explanation, he said, is that edge means allowing a user to have a local experience at the user’s location, wherever that location may be. The user’s request for service, whether it is an application, gaming or video, will be served from a local source, eliminating internet lag time, buffering or latency problems associated with network designs of the last few decades, he said.

The edge is about user experience and application performance, Green said. “Having a hub-and-spoke network design where users on the East Coast have to ping to a data center on the West Coast and then come back with a signal — that will cause problems for service providers and their users,” he said. “We believe that CoreSite is really well set up to deliver an edge user experience, given that our locations are spread across the country. By making use of CoreSite and deploying your infrastructure at our locations across the country, you could serve your users within a few milliseconds. They are all going to have the same local-feeling experience when you deploy at our sites in each of those markets.”

In Green’s view, 5G wireless communications represents a last-mile access methodology — and it probably isn’t even a mile. It is shorter than a mile, he said, given the distance limitations on 5G. Effectively, 5G will test your company’s edge plan. As Green explained it, a user on a phone may have a lightning-fast 5G connection to the nearest cell tower, but at that point, it jumps onto a fiber network and goes to the closest network interconnection point. Then, if the signal has to travel across the country from the East Coast to the West Coast, it has to ping the legacy on-prem data center and then return to the lightning-fast 5G connection. The whole promise of 5G is lost, at that point, Green said.

Delivering on the promise of 5G requires the use of a collocation provider positioned to deliver content and applications much closer to the user, optimizing the experience, Green said. Meanwhile, because not all data centers are created equal, Green said you should look for a data center with a rich network interconnection base. The more fiber carriers in the building, the better, he said, because it will improve the edge experience through network reach and deliver to as many users who may be on different networks in the area.

“Another key element to edge that we talk with clients about all the time is a hybrid cloud and a multicloud approach, really enabling enterprises with the ability to connect into the cloud of their choice to make use of different applications or solutions is critical to the success of the 5G edge,” Green said. “Even if someone says, ‘I’m going 100 percent cloud,’ they still need to be thinking about how they will effectively access their cloud provider but still integrate with all the networks that they need and all the business partners, all of their ancillary applications and other clouds. That’s what hybrid cloud is about. People should consider how they are going to effectively navigate among their cloud providers, their applications and their edge users. They should really do that making use of a multitenant data center, especially one that has cloud connectivity offerings.”

CoreSite, has an open cloud exchange, Green said, which provides real-time turn-up and turn-down connections to cloud service providers. Using the exchange, a service provider can take space within a CoreSite data center and directly connect to the cloud or multiple clouds of its choice. “This will be the quickest, most secure, most reliable, lowest latency way to connect to the cloud service providers that you need, while maintaining your ability to connect to everyone else that you need to interface with that make up your ecosystem to make that 5G edge solution run,” Green said.

Speaking of the future, Green said that 5G will provide a breakthrough moment for many content companies, gaming companies and for the smart city. He said that applications that are only three or four years away haven’t even been considered, today. The pace of change is so fast that there will be an amazing application that couldn’t have existed without 5G edge infrastructure in place, he said.

CoreSite, has network-to-network communication within its buildings, and Green said the company operates highly interconnected buildings in downtown metros across the United States. In some cases, the company has hundreds of fiber-optic providers interfacing with one another and exchanging traffic. Green said these network meet points are critical to a 5G application or to a smart city to provide access to all of the providers a service provider needs in one place, but also connecting to the preferred cloud service provider. Having AWS, Azure, Google and others on that to the building as well creates a future-proof situation, Green said.

“Here are the key things when you are thinking about choosing a collocation provider and trying to future-proof your choice,” Green said. “Number one, location. You have to minimize latency to your user. Number two, density of network interconnection. The more, the better. You are going to have a better performance to more users with more network options. And then finally, integration to clouds. You have to have a platform that allows you to interface rapidly at high throughput at lowest latency.”

Green said it just so happens those are the ingredients at CoreSite Data Center, “so we are in a good spot, looking to the future, whatever the future may bring.”

Don Bishop is executive editor and associate publisher of AGL Magazine. This article was derived from remarks Ben Green made in an interview with Sterling Perrin, principal analyst of optical and transport at Heavy Reading.


M2M, Video to Drive Massive IP Traffic Increases by 2021: Cisco

June 13, 2017 —

Driven by M2M and video, global digital traffic will increase three-fold exceeding 3 zettabytes by 2021, placing substantial demands on IP networks, according to the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Complete Forecast.

Top-level indicators include the projected increase in Internet users—from 3.3 to 4.6 billion or 58 percent of the global population, greater adoption of personal devices and machine-to-machine (M2M) connections—from 17.1 billion to 27.1 billion from 2016- 2021, average broadband speed advances—from 27.5 Mbps to 53.0 Mbps, and more video viewing—from 73 percent to 82 percent of total IP traffic.

For the first time in the 12 years of the forecast, M2M connections that support internet of things (IoT) applications are calculated to be more than half of the total 27.1 billion devices and connections and will account for five percent of global IP traffic by 2021.  IoT innovations in connected home, connected healthcare, smart cars/transportation and a host of other next-generation M2M services are driving this incremental growth—a 2.4-fold increase from 5.8 billion in 2016 to 13.7 billion by 2021.

With the rise of connected applications such as health monitors, medicine dispensers, and first-responder connectivity, the health care will be fastest-growing industry segment (30 percent CAGR). The connected car and connected cities applications will have the second-fastest growth (29 percent CAGRs respectively).

Video will continue to dominate IP traffic and overall internet traffic growth—representing 80 percent of all internet traffic by 2021, up from 67 percent in 2016. Globally, there will be nearly 1.9 billion internet video users (excluding mobile-only) by 2021, up from 1.4 billion in 2016. The world will reach three trillion internet video minutes per month by 2021, which is five million years of video per month, or about one million video minutes every second.

Emerging mediums such as live internet video will increase 15-fold and reach 13 percent of internet video traffic by 2021—meaning more streaming of TV apps and personal live streaming on social networks. While live streaming video is reshaping today’s online entertainment patterns, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are also gaining traction. By 2021, VR/AR traffic will increase 20-fold and represent one percent of global entertainment traffic.

·       Wi-Fi and mobile-connected devices will generate 73 percent of Internet traffic by 2021

·       2021 Internet access percentages – Wi-Fi: 53 percent; cellular: 20 percent;  fixed: 27 percent

·       2016 Internet access percentages – Wi-Fi = 52 percent; cellular: 10 percent; fixed: 38 percent

·       Globally, total public W-Fi hotspots (including homes) will grow six-fold from 2016 to 2021 from 94 million in 2016 to 541.6 million by 2021.

The Cisco VNI Complete Forecast for 2016 to 2021 relies upon independent analyst forecasts and real-world network usage data. Upon this foundation are layered Cisco’s own estimates for global IP traffic and service adoption.