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AT&T, Dell and VMware team to simplify 5G edge deployments

News Analysis
May 09, 20233 mins
5GEdge Computing

Joint offering combines 5G connectivity, edge computing infrastructure, and multi-cloud support in an on-demand service.

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Credit: amgun / Shutterstock

AT&T, Dell and VMware have partnered to create a multi-access edge computing (MEC) solution that includes private 5G wireless deployed on premises. The three vendors combined their experience in 5G communications and edge infrastructure to create an integrated 5G MEC solution – called AT&T MEC with Dell Apex – that’s designed to accelerate enterprise adoption of 5G technology.

AT&T provides network connectivity for the solution, while Dell delivers the hardware that AT&T MEC rides on and provides an “as-a-service” capability via Dell Apex Private Cloud. VMware’s virtualization and multi-cloud enablement software comes loaded on the Dell Private Cloud VxRail HCI servers.

Since this is an on-demand service, companies can scale up or down as their needs change, said Douglas Lieberman, senior director, global solutions co-creation services at Dell, in a blog post announcing the new service.

“With the click of a button, enterprises can order more Dell edge processing to be delivered and implemented in weeks, not months. This “edge-as-a-Service” model enables innovation by allowing enterprises to try out new 5G edge services without making heavy capital investments,” Lieberman wrote.

5G MEC is appropriate for use cases such as automated guided vehicles, IoT sensors, warehouse and factory robots, and AR experiences, all of which require real-time data collection and bringing business applications closer to where the data is processed, according to Lieberman.

He noted that while Wi-Fi networking is the standard for most wireless enterprises, it’s also more or less a plug-and-play technology using unlicensed spectrum. 5G, on the other hand, uses licensed spectrum with cellular technology to offer more inherent stability, more predictable latencies, higher reliability and greater range with fewer access points over Wi-Fi.

However, 5G networks and MEC solutions have their own set of complexities around deployment, security, scalability and cloud application integration, and enterprises may not have the skills needed to manage both connectivity and compute in a 5G MEC, Lieberman wrote.

AT&T MEC with Dell Apex “helps remove the barriers to 5G edge innovation,” Lieberman wrote. “How do I build it? We’ve built it for you. How do I connect and protect it? We’ve built in connectivity and protection. How do I scale it? With the click of a button. How do I manage it? Control as much or as little as you want, from full control to a completely managed service. It’s applicable to many different verticals such as manufacturing, oil and gas, utilities, healthcare and more.”

The services are available now, priced as-a-service through Dell’s Apex program with capital costs dependent upon the equipment deployment. 

In other telco-related Dell news, Dell has also partnered with Swedish telecom vendor Ericsson for a Cloud RAN project.

Ericsson will provide its Cloud RAN customers with Dell PowerEdge servers. Cloud RAN is an open cloud network that allows customers to choose their infrastructure provider to prevent vendor lock-in.

Ericsson said in a statement that the deal will provide more flexibility for Cloud RAN customers and noted that Dell’s XR8000 and XR5610 PowerEdge servers are specifically designed for telecom, Open RAN, and mobile edge computing workloads.

Andy Patrizio is a freelance journalist based in southern California who has covered the computer industry for 20 years and has built every x86 PC he’s ever owned, laptops not included.

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of ITworld, Network World, its parent, subsidiary or affiliated companies.

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