SK Telecom has finished developing a system that manages to greatly reduce latency on 5G phones. It was developed its own mobile edge computing (MEC) environment to offer the ultra-low latency 5G services which are required for autonomous driving, immersive media services and remote surgery.
The idea behind MEC is to bring data centers closer to consumers so that when they use their smartphones, data has less distance to travel and applications perform better with low latency. At present, data from smartphones travels to a base station, then to a mobile switching center and on to the internet network and data centers before going back.
When the MEC environment is in full effect, data only needs to travel from smartphones to base stations and mobile switching centers where the MEC architecture is installed. The carrier wants to have all its MEC centers up and running by the end of this year, when it will then enter the next phase of its quest to reduce latency as much as possible. It will then move smaller data centers to 5G base stations to ensure that data only needs to travel between the phones and the base stations.
Lee Kang-won, head of Cloud Labs at SK Telecom said “This way, customers can experience 60 percent improved latency compared to the current network. Our MEC technology will create opportunities in the business-to-business sector, like for smart factories, offices and hospitals.”
With regards to hospitals, Lee further said that they can keep sensitive data within the building if the install the MEC infrastructure within the hospital as opposed to at mobile switching centers. This will then also offer low-latency networks for remote surgeries.