AWS to offer edge computing in partnership with Vodafone in Europe
Written by: Sam Fenwick | Published:

​Earlier this week, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced AWS Wavelength which will embed AWS’s compute and storage services at the edge of mobile network operators’ networks.

The company claims that this will allow developers’ applications to serve end-users with single-digit millisecond (ms) latencies over 5G networks, rather than the more than 100ms latencies that can occur under the current set-up in which application traffic has to travel from a device to a cell tower to metro aggregation sites to regional aggregation sites and to the Internet before it can access resources running in AWS.

Use cases that require this approach include machine learning inference at the edge, autonomous industrial equipment, smart cars and cities, the Internet of Things (IoT), and augmented and virtual reality.

Vodafone Business is collaborating with AWS to make AWS Wavelength available in Europe and it claims that the service will be available first in the UK and Germany on the Vodafone 5G network, before expanding to other Vodafone markets across Europe.

“With Europe’s largest 5G network across 58 cities and as a global leader in IoT with over 90 million connections, Vodafone is pleased to be the first telco to introduce AWS Wavelength in Europe,” said Vinod Kumar, CEO of Vodafone Business. “Faster speeds and lower latencies have the potential to revolutionise how our customers do business, and they can rely on Vodafone’s existing capabilities and security layers within our own network.”

AWS is also partnering with Verizon to make Wavelength available in the US and select Verizon 5G Edge customers are currently piloting it. AWS is also collaborating with SK Telecom and KDDI to launch Wavelength in South Korea and Japan in 2020 and AWS has said more global partners will be coming soon.

With Wavelength, developers can deploy the portions of an application that require ultra-low latency within the 5G network, and then seamlessly connect back to the rest of their application and full range of cloud services running in AWS. AWS customers can use the current AWS APIs, tools, and functionality when working with Wavelength.

To deploy their application to the 5G edge, developers extend their Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) to include a Wavelength Zone and then create AWS resources like Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances, Amazon Elastic Block Storage (EBS) volumes, and AWS Elastic Container Service (ECS) and Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Services (EKS) containers. Developers can continue to use AWS services to manage, secure, and scale their applications such as AWS CloudFormation, AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), and AWS Auto Scaling.

“With Wavelength, we bring 5G and cloud together to give our customers the powerful new capability to run cloud services consistently within a few milliseconds of mobile end-users,” said Matt Garman, vice president compute services, AWS. “This is a game changer for developers that is going to unlock a whole new generation of applications and services. We are really excited to see our customers innovate with these unique new capabilities that they did not have access to before.”

Varjo Technologies Oy is based in Helsinki and is creating hardware and software for VR/AR/XR computing devices, merging the real and digital worlds together in human-eye resolution. Niko Eiden, founder and CEO, Varjo, said: “Not too far down the road, our technology will be fully wireless, collaborative mixed reality. And this workspace of the future needs to be rendered in the cloud – with millions of pixels of extremely high-resolution, uncompressed content with single-digit millisecond latencies delivered to our devices – whether on premises at carmakers or in remote sites, through 5G.

"Now, instead of having to develop expensive local computing services that would be impossible to run on a battery-operated device, we can use edge computing to scale the rendering power and the business of our industrial-grade VR/MR from thousands to hundreds of thousands of units. Having access to the power of the AWS Cloud, together with 5G’s high bandwidth, low latency, and increased connectivity, is vital to our ability to deliver professional immersive computing experiences and to grow our business."

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