Architectural principles for enabling edge applications in 3GPP standards – RCR Wireless News

The 3GPP has defined an enabling layer to facilitate communication between the Application Clients and the Edge Application Servers

The latest iterations of 3GPP standards have placed added emphasis on support for edge computing, a distributed computing framework that brings computation and data storage closer to the sources of data. Edge computing has the potential to usher in a fundamentally new era of low-latency data communications, enabling new use cases across several industries including healthcare, retail and manufacturing.

When it comes to edge application layer architecture, the 3GPP TSG SA WG6 (SA6) has initiated work aimed at defining an enabling layer to facilitate communication between the Application Clients (ACs) running on user equipment (UEs) and the Edge Application Servers (EAS) deployed on the Edge Data Network.

“This includes aspects of service provisioning and EAS discovery,” wrote 3GPP Working Group SA6 Chair Suresh Chitturi. “In addition, the work aims to provide support services such as application context transfer between EASs for service continuity, service enablement and capability exposure APIs towards the EAS.”

Architectural principles for enabling edge applications

Chitturi also explained that the application architecture for enabling edge applications is designed based on five architectural principles: Application Client portability; Edge Application Server portability; Service differentiation; Flexible deployment; and Interworking with 3GPP network.

Application Client and Edge Application Server portability

3GPP defines Application Client portability as the avoidance of changes in logic of ACs to interact with EAS, compared to existing cloud environments, while Edge Application Service portability is the avoidance of changes in logic of Application Servers when resident in Edge Hosting Environment, compared to existing cloud environments.

According to IBM, increased portability of the workloads being considered for edge computing localization will allow these networks to operate at scale. “Workloads can be prioritized based on a number of factors, including benefit of migration, complexity, and resource/time to migrate. Many network and application partners are already working on migrating capabilities to container-based approaches, which can aid in addressing this challenge,” stated IBM engineers Jason Gonzalez, Jason Hunt, Mathews Thomas, Ryan Anderson and Utpal Mangla.

The IBM team indicated that modifying things like workload size, standardizing the management of the full lifecycle of the application and breaking up workloads into sub-components will all help deliver improved edge application portability.

Service differentiation

This principle refers to the fact that by enabling or disabling edge computing features on a network, mobile network operators can provide differentiates services, as well as deliver on the consumer and enterprise capabilities promised by advanced cellular networks.

Flexible deployment 

Because there can be multiple Edge Computing Service Providers (ECSPs) within a single public land mobile network (PLMN) operator network, flexible deployment is a key edge architecture principle. Further, as Chitturi pointed out, providers from across the communications industry, from the Mobile Network Operators (MNO) to the Application Service Providers (ASP), will be involved in the deployment of edge computing.  

Interworking with 3GPP network 

Finally, the ability for edge applications to interwork with 3GPP networks is a crucial design principle. According to Chitturi, the application architecture supports interworking with 3GPP network using existing capability exposure functions such as NEF and PCF.

Release 18 and beyond

For Nokia, 5G-Advanced is directly linked to 3GPP Release 18, as it believes this is the standard that will help 5G evolve to the next phase.  

“5G-Advanced denominates the evolution of the 5G standard with 3GPP Release 18 and beyond,” stated Nokia’s Senior Standardization Specialist Yannick Lair, adding that despite being several years away from the final 5G-Advanced standards, the proposals made at the Release 18 workshop, have allowed the companies to “predict what shape those networks will take.”

A heightened attention to edge computing is one of the several features in the Release 18 proposal that Lair highlights, commenting that 5G-Advanced “will enrich edge computing by quickly and efficiently exposing device-traffic-related information to edge application servers [and] will optimize the allocation and relocation of edge application servers among different users.”

This UrIoTNews article is syndicated fromGoogle News

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