Industry Specification Group (ISG) on Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC)

Chair: Dario Sabella, Intel

Developing specifications that allow the hosting of operator and third-party applications in a multi-vendor Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) environment; and accelerating the development of edge applications across industry to increase market scale and improve market economics.

A key enabler for 5G, Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) shifts processing away from remote data centres and closer to end users at the ‘edge’ of the network. MEC enables a wide range of IoT and mission-critical vertical solutions, from gaming and Virtual Reality to Intelligent Transportation Systems and the industrial Internet. Supporting increasing QoS requirements for these applications and use cases, it also offers improved privacy and security.

ETSI Industry Specification Group (ISG) MEC is developing a fully standardized solution that enables seamless integration of applications from vendors, service providers and third parties across multi-vendor MEC platforms in a distributed cloud environment. Crucial to this is the creation of a consistent set of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for developers to build services and applications meeting industry demand.

Anticipating widescale industry adoption of MEC solutions, the group’s focus in 2020 shifted to ‘Phase 3’ activities. Emphasizing market needs, this considers a more complex heterogeneous cloud ecosystem while providing a developer-friendly environment for continued innovation.

In October ISG MEC published a Group Report GR MEC 031 documenting the key issues and solutions for MEC integration in 5G networks.

During the year the group also expanded its suite of increasingly popular MEC APIs available via the ETSI Forge web page – see forge.etsi.org. New APIs covered Traffic Management, WLAN information, Application Mobility Service and a Vehicular-to-Everything (V2X) information service – the last of these developed in collaboration with 5GAA.

See the full list of MEC APIs and other deliverables published since January 2020 here.

Work meanwhile continued on evolution of existing Group Specifications. These included the MEC Framework and Reference Architecture; Edge Platform Application Enablement; and a survey of general principles, patterns and common aspects of MEC Service APIs.

In July, ETSI MEC and 3GPP SA6 officials co-authored ETSI White Paper #36 titled ‘Harmonizing standards for edge computing - a synergized architecture leveraging ETSI ISG MEC and 3GPP specifications’.

A webinar on ‘Multi-access Edge Computing in Action for Application Developers’ was held in March 2020. A successful NFV & MEC Plugtests™ virtual event was held in June. In October the MEC Chair participated in an ETSI/3GPP webinar titled ‘Boost innovation and create business opportunities with mobile edge computing’.

Hosted in November as an all-virtual event, a Droidcon MEC Hackathon 2020 invited developers to test their applications with ETSI MEC APIs in a variety of use cases ranging from Augmented Reality for the construction sector to automotive, consumer, media and entertainment applications. Teams remotely accessed MEC servers and software platforms to develop mobile applications for advanced services in a simulated MEC-enabled 5G network.

In October ISG MEC revised the Group Specification on general principles for MEC Service APIs. This was accompanied in December with publication by MEC’s DECODE group of the multi-part Conformance Test Specification [GS MEC-DEC 032-1, GS MEC-DEC 032-2, GS MEC-DEC 032-3] covering Service APIs as well as the MEC Application Enablement API.

Launched in December 2020 and hosted virtually by ETSI, the MEC Sandbox provides an environment for developers to experience and interact with MEC service APIs via a detailed simulation of a 4G/5G/Wi-Fi network. Developers are invited to find out more at try-mec.etsi.org.

LOOK OUT FOR IN 2021 – ISG MEC WORK IN PROGRESS:

MEC

  • Group Specification (GS) on MEC Framework and Reference Architecture
  • GS on Application Package Format and Descriptor Specification
  • GS on IoT API
  • Revision to GS MEC 002 on use cases and requirements
  • Revision to GS MEC 009 on general principles, patterns and common aspects of MEC Service APIs
  • Revision to GS MEC 010-2 on MEC management; Part 2: Application lifecycle, rules and requirements management
  • Revision to GS MEC 011 on edge platform application enablement
  • Revision to GS MEC 028 on WLAN Information API
  • Revision to GS MEC 030 on V2X Information Service API
  • Group Report (GR) on inter-MEC systems and MEC-cloud systems coordination
  • GR on MEC in resource constrained terminals, fixed or mobile
  • GR on MEC in park enterprises deployment scenario

MEC DECODE

  • Revisions to multi-part GS MEC-DEC 032 on API conformance test specification