ZTE, Intel and China Unicom edge upward

28 Feb 2018

China Unicom, in collaboration with ZTE and Intel, announced the launch of their large-scale edge cloud field trials in a joint press conference at Mobile World Congress on Tuesday.

The Chinese telco also released a supporting publication—the China Unicom Edge Service Platform Architecture and Industry Ecosystem White Book—and held joint demonstrations of Edge vCDN and Edge Intelligence analysis services in the Intel booth.

“Global telecom operators are working on network re-architecture and transformation,” said ZTE in a statement. “Edge cloud can meet the requirements of lower latency, higher bandwidth and localization, improve network efficiency, and also force new business models.”

“With new opportunities of mixed-ownership reform and based on increasing the pipe capacity, China Unicom will build [a] unified edge DC cloudification resource pool quickly, and open [a] new window of strategic cooperation with OTT partners.”

At the press conference, China Unicom announced the launch of edge cloud field trials and pre-commercial deployment in 15 Chinese provinces and cities, including campuses, stadiums, and parks.

The telco cooperates with ZTE, Intel, Tencent Video, StarShine, Opzoon and other partners, and has built an edge-cloud testbed in Tianjin, said ZTE. The edge-cloud service platform is built on servers using Intel's Xeon Scalable Processor Family—taking edge vCDN as an example, it can reduce bandwidth strain, latency, and loss in network transmission, thus helping content providers to lower costs and optimize user experience.

The White Book publication describes China Unicom’s overall architecture, evolution roadmap, and key use-cases. Faced with integration of fixed and mobile networks, and the evolution of network cloudification, the firm plans to build edge PaaS service platforms to accelerate business incubation of edge applications, said ZTE.

“One of the key goals of China Unicom’s network transformation is to bring high bandwidth and low latency down to the network edge,” China Unicom EVP Shao Guanglu said.

Shao added that his firm cooperates with partners including Baidu, Ali, Tencent, ZTE, and Intel, and has launched planning and construction work on thousands of edge data centers. “In edge-cloud massive trials, we hope to cooperate with more industrial partners, focus on HD video, VR/AR, industrial IOT, [the] Internet of Vehicles, and co-build 5G network edge ecosystems,” he said.

“ZTE is always dedicated to partnering with China Unicom and Intel to construct intelligent, highly efficient and open 5G-oriented wireless networks,” ZTE president Zhao Xianming said.

“In recent years, ZTE and China Unicom have worked together on network exposure capability, standardization evolution, and end-to-end application verification—ZTE will further deepen our cooperation with operators and partners in vertical industries to promote the reshaping of 5G-oriented smart networks.”

“The result of the 5G technology collaboration between [China Unicom], Intel and ZTE in developing future technologies and demonstrating the value of edge-cloud is an important foundation for 5G technology development that connects the edge to the cloud,” Intel VP Caroline Chan said.

“Intel is closely working with industry partners to accelerate the development, application verification and business model explorations of edge-cloud technology.”

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