SoftBank Corp. commences field trial for 5G MEC utilising SRv6 MUP

Via SoftBank

Jan 16, 2024

SoftBank Corp. (“SoftBank”) announced it has initiated field trials for 5G MEC (Multi-access Edge Computing) utilizing the Segment Routing IPv6 Mobile User Plane (SRv6 MUP) technology. This technology enables the cost-effective and easy realization of MEC and network slicing, taking advantage of the unique features of 5G.

MEC can significantly reduce communication latency by deploying application servers closer to mobile devices, enabling the realization of high-speed and low-latency mobile network applications. However, without the use of SRv6 MUP, there are concerns about increased complexity in the design, construction, and operation of overall application systems due to the addition of mobile-specific switches and MEC to conventional mobile devices and cloud configurations.

By incorporating 5G MEC into the field trial environment of SRv6 MUP on a commercial 5G network, SoftBank aims to enable communication between mobile devices and MEC servers without the need for mobile-specific switches. This approach allows for the realization of high-speed and low-latency mobile network applications that are simpler, more cost-effective, and easier to configure compared to traditional mobile networks.

Furthermore, within this field trial environment, a verification experiment of an extensive distributed execution platform using the Elixir will be conducted. This platform, developed by a consortium participating in the research and development project entitled “Resource permeating Wide-Area Distributed Computing Environment toward the B5G era Realized by a Functional Programming Paradigm” (No. 04001) under the Beyond 5G R&D Promotion Project conducted by the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), enables the seamless execution of applications in optimal locations, regardless of the complexity of execution environments among the cloud, MEC, and mobile devices.

SoftBank, in collaboration with the consortium, will exhibit a demonstration of this platform at the “JANOG53 Meeting” (organized by Japan Network Operators' Group) held at the Hakata International Exhibition Hall & Conference Center in Hakata-ku, Fukuoka City, Japan from January 17 to 19, 2024. In this demonstration, SoftBank will deploy applications of the extensive distributed execution platform at its newly established 5G MEC base in the Kyushu region, demonstrating the ability to access the applications from 5G SA (Stand Alone) compatible mobile devices at the venue through an optimal communication route utilizing SRv6 MUP. By providing the shortest path to 5G MEC based on the location of mobile devices, SRv6 MUP and the seamless extensive distributed execution platform will enable application developers to easily provide low-latency services to mobile devices without having to consider the geographical location of MEC.

In the future, it is expected that computationally intensive tasks for various applications, such as AR, VR, and AI, which are challenging to handle on mobile devices with limited computing resources, can be offloaded and processed on MEC servers on 5G networks, eliminating the stress caused by latency and enabling a more comfortable user experience. SoftBank will promote activities that allow more application developers to experience the low-latency and high-quality MEC communication environment enabled by SRv6 MUP.

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