What is "the Edge" and why does it keep moving about?

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Panel Discussion

Just what and where the "Edge" of the network might be, and why that is of such importance to CSPs is a matter of continuing debate. However, one working definition of the Edge is that it encompasses all the regional and local control offices out to wireless base station access as well as some on-premises equipment.

To the CSPs, as far as the advent of 5G is concerned, the most important aspect will be not only the ability to distribute network functions out to the periphery of the network but also to transform the Edge so that it is able to host additional services and applications that will be new revenue-generating opportunities.

The Edge can also be defined by a variety of parameters that are important for networking such as latency, bandwidth and the geo-location of data.Thus it can depend on a given use case as to how and where the Edge might be defined. And there are other trade-offs for putting any kind of equipment at the network Edge because the further out towards the periphery they are placed the more expensive it gets - and fixed and mobile access providers have tens of thousands of geo-locations.


  • Klaus Martiny, Senior Program Manager, Deutsche Telekom & Chair, ETSI ZSM ISG
  • Renu Navale, Sr. Director, Network Industry Enabling, Organization in Network Platforms Group, Intel Corporation
  • Mirko Voltolini, VP Technology & Architecture, Colt
  • Don Clark Chair, Network Operator Council, ETSI NFV ISG

Filmed at SDN NFV World Congress 2018, The Hague, The Netherlands

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