Hoffman: Minimum Edge $3M-10

Servers inside the telco network are going to be important. Korea Telecom has announced 8 regional hubs. I believe Deutsche Telekom offers 13 hubs initially. They are beginning to provide revenue, allow making deals, and let your people build the necessary system and interfaces.

Jason Hoffman is CEO of MobiledgeX, a California based subsidiary of DT. He writes, “A powerful ‘rack’ tends to run about $250,000 and you can do 1-3 per site at a minimum. So generally a basic edge ‘experiment’ is probably around $3.5-6M in hardware and software.”

Distributed clouds are a challenge to manage. The synchronisation can be hard. You’ll need to resolve innumerable problems. Your people need training. Time to get started.

The general belief is that ultimately carriers will build to the towers (Level 1 in the diagram, above or larger below) or Level 2, 1-3 hops from the towers. That will bring latency down to 10-20 ms. What I’m suggesting here is to begin with Level 3 or 4. The latency should be 20-25 ms.

Consistency is sometimes more important than speed. Verizon 4G has been tested at 25 ms, but most 4G is between 35 and 75 ms. Sometimes it goes higher. The occasional high latency can be devastating to an app like Google’s Stadia game streaming. Beta users are saying Stadia play is almost like their home PC. If a few are on a bad network link, that could really hurt the project.

Regional Level 4 servers are great for Pokemon Go and probably useful for other apps. (Probably not Virtual Reality. VR makes most people nauseous at 20 ms and some people react even at 10 ms. Level 4 servers – and most 5G without an Edge network – aren’t adequate.) Demand for 20-25 ms service is not proven but could develop.

Having a system in place also allows defining and building the connection to partners, especially the cloud giants. Amazon, Microsoft, and Google remain on top, but Baidu and Huawei are growing rapidly. All the big clouds are aggressively offering on-site servers to large customers managed as part of the bigger network.

AT&T, Reliance Jio, and Orange have billion-dollar cloud deals with Microsoft. Most carriers will make a financial connection with major cloud vendors. A telco cloud, even if modest, will allow you to develop a network connection as well.

Hatch, a streaming game service from the Angry Birds, has made deal with Vodafone, Sprint, and NTT DOCOMO. It discovered that each carrier had different requirements for interconnection, limiting the number of telcos it was practical to support.

Make it easy for your people and partners to deliver the service.

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Improvements welcome