Deutsche Telekom sets up US lab for edge computing trials with 5G

Deutsche Telekom has set up an edge computing lab in the US, in collaboration with tower and fibre provider Crown Castle

The company says the project is an extension of its Living Edge Lab, an ultra-low latency mobile testbed, which has now been extended to three sites centred on Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh

“The Living Edge Lab testbed is a major technology milestone towards use-case centric edge computing and will provide application developers with an early experience of the benefits of 5G technology,” said Alex Jinsung Choi, senior vice president for research and technology innovation at Deutsche Telekom.

Choi, who joined Deutsche Telekom last July from Korea’s SK Telecom, where he was CTO, added: “It is a unique edge computing platform that leverages a fully virtualised end-to-end solution and the implementation of user-tracing beam-forming antennas for the first time in a live environment.”

Beam-forming is a technique being developed for 5G mobile technology to increase coverage and efficiency by electronically steering the radio beam between base station and each user’s handset.

Deutsche Telekom said the edge computing setup combines what is calls “a fully softwarised network” with a modular radio access network platform as the key enabling concept for future low-latency networks.

The wireless access in the 3.5GHz band uses advanced LTE as well as 5G features such as massive MIMO – multiple input, multiple output – plus active antenna systems and beam-forming technology by Airrays, a German radio vendor.

It is powered by state-of-the-art virtual RAN (vRAN) technology from Altiostar of Tewksbury, Massachusetts.

The system at Carnegie Mellon uses commercial-off-the-shelf hardware alongside the edge computing server – called a “cloudlet”. Connectivity to each site uses extensive fibre networks owned and maintained by Crown Castle.

The company said that during the year it will use the Living Edge Lab testbeds to accelerate the development and demonstration of new edge computing applications jointly with industry partners.