NTT Communications (NTT Com) announced its development of the basic technology to adapt edge computing, a promising technology for accelerating data processing in IoT devices, to “mobile IoT devices” such as connected vehicles and robots.
The “Network Edge Solution” incorporating this basic technology will be made available sequentially starting in December 20222 , and NTT Com is looking for clients who can actually demonstrate this solution at their business sites. It plans to enhance the functions based on feedback from clients who participated in the demonstration and the results of hearings on functions in high demand. Full-scale services will be provided in FY2023 as a new service to improve the performance of such mobile IoT devices.
This solution is realized by utilizing network edge technology, which enables edge computing at multiple locations in the vicinity of the mobile network (hereafter referred to as “edge locations”3 ) for the functions required by mobile IoT devices. For example, in a connected vehicle, the operating status is not uniform, and as movement occurs over a wide area, a variety of data must be processed, including sensor and location information sent from the large number of vehicles circulating. This solution, however, enables multiple edge locations to cooperate with each other to achieve mass connectivity and distributed processing of large amounts of data, making it possible to adapt to the connected vehicle. In addition, this solution provides individual functions using microservice architectures4 , allowing clients to select and utilize the functions they need according to their environment, such as on-premises or cloud computing.
Specific individual functions are as follows:
(1) Wide-area distributed message-queuing function
This function enables data communication in response to the startup and shutdown of IoT devices, changes in the communication environment, and movement over a wide area. Data buffering5 and data communication between edge locations are performed to cope with changes in the communication environment for mobile IoT devices and their movement over wide areas. By temporarily holding data at edge locations and propagating data among edge locations as needed, data can be sent from nearby edge locations as soon as the mobile IoT devices are ready to receive data. This eliminates the need for the customer’s system to manage the status of IoT devices and retransmit data in accordance with the timing of their startup.
(2) Dispatcher function
This function facilitates multi-cloud6 utilization, reducing costs and improving reliability. When mobile IoT devices are directly linked to cloud services, it is necessary to individually configure authentication information and communication destinations for all devices in order to operate in a multi-cloud environment. By integrating cloud service integration functions into this solution, edge locations can serve as hubs for endpoints, enabling a multi-cloud architecture with flexible data distribution. In addition, by combining with NTT Com’s “Flexible InterConnect”7 interconnect service, it is possible to connect to each cloud service in a closed area at a low cost, enabling a more secure system architecture.
(3) Communication termination and authentication function
This function provides data protection through authentication and communication encryption using mutual TLS8 (mTLS). IoT devices generally have difficulty in authenticating clients using IDs/passwords, etc. Therefore, mTLS, which authenticates both clients and servers using certificates, is effective in protecting highly confidential data from cyber-attacks such as spoofing and man-in-the-middle attacks9 . In this solution, the network edge that terminates communication with mobile IoT devices supports mTLS, making it possible to easily implement security measures.