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Verizon, AWS expand MEC footprint to Nashville, Tampa

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19 Wavelength Zones now in operation around the US

Verizon and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have announced the launch of 5G mobile edge computing (MEC) service in Nashville, TN and Tampa, FL. The two new AWS Wavelength Zones provide Verizon and AWS enterprise customers with low-latency service, the companies said in a statement – suitable for use with applications like VR gaming, video distribution, and autonomous vehicle management.

Verizon and AWS offer specialized private MEC for enterprise called Verizon 5G Edge with AWS Outposts. The option of public and private MEC services enables Verizon’s business customers to mitigate risk more effectively, said Tami Erwin, CEO of Verizon Business. 

“This can transform the way companies can leverage predictive analytics, allowing them to improve operational efficiency, mitigate risk and increase revenue,” she said.

Verizon and AWS first announced their collaboration in 2019. Nashville and Tampa add to the 17 other locations Verizon and AWS have created the Wavelength Zones. Since the first Wavelength Zones went online in 2020, Verizon and AWS have lit up Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, Nashville, TN, New York City, Phoenix, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, Tampa, FL and Washington DC.

Creating Wavelength Zones required more than just software provisioning, according to the companies. Both Verizon and AWS needed to rearchitect assets in order for Wavelength Zones to achieve their performance requirements, according to Thierry Sender, Verizon’s Director of IoT.

“The engineering work really required has three major things: First, Verizon had to rearchitect its network so that we could enable any compute resource to be deployed across our network architecture,” Sender revealed. “On our end, we enabled any place in the network to become an endpoint for compute.”

Meanwhile, AWS worked to rearchitect their container orchestration services to make it possible for the edge compute capabilities to work separately from the control plane and to extend out into new availability zones residing inside a carrier’s network.

The third element is that while Verizon and AWS has different redesigning goals, Sender said that the companies actually worked together over the past couple of years to accomplish their joint goal of enabling Wavelength to “sit inside the Verizon network.”

While there have been some early MEC successes, it’s still early enough that on its surface, MEC may seem like a solution searching for a problem. For Verizon’s part, it’s using its early mover advantage to test new ideas to see what works and what doesn’t. 

For example, in February, Verizon and AWS collaborated with Bloomberg Media to test 4K Ultra-High Definition (UHD) streaming over 5G MEC. The service uses Verizon and AWS’s edge computing to host Zixi’s Software-Defined Video Platform (SDVP) and ZEN Master control plane. 

This combination “minimizes the latency and simplifies the networking required to connect from hosted software services on 5G Edge with AWS Wavelength to the end user’s device while ensuring a high quality broadcast signal is maintained,” said Verizon.

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