What is Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC)?

Data volume represents one of the biggest challenges for today’s enterprise. Moving to a cloud-centric model might make sense for some applications, but when you can process data closer to the source, you gain several significant advantages. Managing the amount of data sent to the cloud helps reduce both bandwidth and storage plus related costs. The Internet of Things (IoT) represents one of the largest applications for a Multi-access Edge Computing architecture. In many IoT applications, it is unnecessary to send every sample of data collected by the sensors up to the cloud. Much of this data can be aggregated or filtered at the source to minimize the total amount of useful information. These reduced data sets can then be forwarded to the cloud for further processing.

What is Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC)?

Multi-access edge computing (MEC) is a type of network architecture that provides cloud computing capabilities and an IT service environment at the edge of the network. The goal of MEC is to reduce latency, ensure highly efficient network operation and service delivery, and improve the customer experience.

Multi-access edge computing is now more broadly defined as an evolution in cloud computing that uses mobility, cloud services, and edge computing to move application hosts away from a centralized data center to the edge of the network, resulting in applications that are closer to end users and computing services that are closer to application data.

multi-access edge computing

Why is MEC necessary?

When apps can run near where they’re utilized, their performance is enhanced, and processing activities are completed more swiftly. A multi-access edge computing setup offers ultra-low latency and high bandwidth, in addition to data and radio network data that may be used in real-time by applications. This is the greatest advantage of MEC.

RAN functionality improvement is another reason why MEC should be used. Radio access networks (RAN) are key connectivity points between end-user devices and the remainder of an operator’s network. RAN links end-user devices to services enabled by the operator, including voice, data, and over-the-top (OTT) applications like video streaming or healthcare services such as telemedicine that generate revenues for the service provider.

MEC implementations make RAN available to approved application developers and content suppliers, enabling users to deploy edge computing at the application layer and also at the lower level of network operations and data processing.

Service providers will be early users of multi-access edge computing for high-density settings, such as sports stadiums and initial 5G deployments. Internet of Things (IoT) gateways in the manufacturing industry, for example, are ideal candidates for MEC implementation.

Characteristics of MEC

  • Close proximity: Being close to the source of information, edge captures key information for analytics and processing, thereby reducing the need to backhaul data to core locations.
  • Real-time:  Applications that benefit from MEC are ones that require near-real or real-time decision processing and outcomes.
  • Low latency: Typically characterized by latency of under 20 milliseconds. This provides faster response and improved user experience.
  • Continuous operations: Edge applications are localized, meaning they can run independently from the rest of the network — even autonomously if disconnected from the core.
  • Interoperability: MEC does not require the adoption or migration of applications to the new environment, which makes development and deployment more efficient.

Benefits of MEC

Multi-access edge computing is attractive to different market players due to the set of benefits it offers in terms of network connectivity, reliability, scalability, security, and cost. These are the main advantages of multi-access edge computing.

Reduced latency – latency is the time it takes for data to move from one point of a network to another. Having several devices connected across different networks causes data transfer issues due to delays in releasing data packets. By bringing compute services closer to the network edge, MEC significantly reduces communication latency.

Greater reliability and security – multi-access edge computing can be reliable and secure if the technology is deployed correctly. Partnering with the right edge computing provider means access to sophisticated security solutions that would otherwise be unavailable with public cloud deployments. By distributing data across a network and sealing all the security loopholes, it’s possible to safeguard data from serious cyber threats such as DDoS attacks.

Scalability and savings – Multi-access edge computing is highly scalable, allowing businesses to expand or dial back on services without incurring high costs.

multi-access edge computing

Use cases of Multi-Access Edge Computing

Below pointed are certain use cases of Multi-access Edge Computing around:

Customer Services
With MEC enabling a wider range of customer services than ever before, businesses and enterprises in commercial sectors are beginning to utilize it to expand and improve their basic services and create the opportunity to bring in more revenue with newer services.

Augmented & Virtual Reality
Augmented reality (AR) and Virtual reality (VR) are two of the hottest trends currently taking entertainment by storm. The success of apps like Pokémon Go and virtual reality headsets to the vast majority of mainstream game consoles has seen the popularity of both AR and VR skyrocket. Only MEC technologies can take AR and VR to the next level.

Commercial Operations
Alongside the customer services side of things, it is currently being utilized for a wealth of commercial operations and enhancing and improving businesses and enterprises’ everyday running. From security and distribution to asset management and data routing, MEC has a role to play in all of them.

Industrial IoT
One of the biggest transformations brought about by the expansion of the Internet of Things has occurred in the industrial sectors. In fact, IoT devices and operations that fall within this category are often referred to as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

Emergency Services
As with the industrial Internet of Things, when it comes to emergency services, access to real-time data and information, as well as a reliable means of communication, can be the difference between safely responding to a situation and the unfolding of a disastrous situation.


Multi-Access Edge Computing is the next step in the evolution of global networks. It will allow carriers to distribute the pressure on computing resources so that no data center is strained. In the era of immersive technology, IoT proliferation, and ubiquitous AI, Multi-Access Edge Computing has the potential to transform how users experience internet services, albeit working in the background!


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