ETSI announces MEC 5G Integration Report and extension of ISG MEC

Sophia Antipolis, 7 December 2020

The ETSI Multi-access Edge Computing group (ETSI ISG MEC) has recently released the Group Report ETSI GR MEC 031 that describes the key issues, solution proposals and recommendations for MEC integration into 3GPP 5G systems.

ETSI ISG MEC started their endeavour with the 3GPP 5G system specification when working on their White Paper published in June 2018. This White Paper confirmed the great synergies between the 3GPP 5G and MEC systems and how they both complemented each other in serving the edge computing demands of the 5G era. The Paper also highlighted main topics for further study, which provided the motivation for the creation of the ETSI GR MEC 031 MEC 5G Integration Report.

Overall, the key topic of the Report is identifying how a MEC system can benefit from the services offered by the network functions of the 5G system and exposed through the northbound APIs of the network exposure function (NEF). Specifically, the Report examines the MEC system’s ability, as an Application Function of the 3GPP 5G system, to influence traffic routing and the User Plane Function (UPF) selection in the 5G system. It also examines how the MEC system can benefit from the capabilities of the 5G system to enable local access to a Data Network. These are key features of the 5G system that enable MEC applications to be accessible via a 3GPP 5G network. 

"In defining a distributed highly flexible UPF, 3GPP took a major step forward towards enabling MEC in 5G networks in a simple, native and standardized way,” said Alex Reznik, Chair of ETSI ISG MEC. “As this report demonstrates, ETSI MEC is well underway to build on 3GPP’s work to fully establish MEC as a power driver of value for communication service providers.”  

Another area of interest analyzed in the Report deals with the different ways of mapping the MEC API framework to the 3GPP-defined Common API Framework (CAPIF), highlighting alignment between the two API frameworks and simplifying the task for developers who need to interact with both. 

Updates to the released MEC specifications will address the gaps identified in the Report. These include the addition of new requirements and potentially related use cases, as well as architectural enhancements for interfacing to the 5G core network. This work will be aligned with 3GPP System Architecture working groups dealing with mission-critical applications, telecom management and architecture.

Extension of the ISG

At the end of September, the ETSI ISG MEC activity has been extended for two more years by the ETSI Director-General. The group of over 110 members will focus on MEC as heterogeneous clouds - expanding traditional cloud and NFV Life Cycle Management (LCM) approaches, inter-MEC systems and MEC-Cloud systems coordination, mobile or intermittently connected components and consumer-owned cloud resources. It will continue to put emphasis on enabling developers’ services with API serialization, sandbox development, testing and compliance while defining services that meet industry demand.

About ETSI
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Claire Boyer
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