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Edge Computing in 5G Networks

Edge Computing in 5G Networks
Edge Computing in 5G Networks


Edge computing in 5G networks allows user equipment (UE) to access services hosted near the serving base station. This proximity improves end-user experience through lower latencies and enhances network efficiency by reducing backhaul transport requirements.

Key Components of Edge Computing in 5G Networks

Local Hosting of Services:

  • User Plane Function (UPF) and Data Network (DN)/Local Area Data Network (LADN): These are located close to the serving base station. They could be co-located with the base station, with a nearby router, or at a regional data center.

Local Area Data Network (LADN):

  • Definition: An LADN provides services within a specific local area, unlike the public internet or private networks that are accessible from anywhere.

  • Tracking Areas: An LADN operates across one or more specific Tracking Areas. The UE can request LADN information from the AMF (Access and Mobility Management Function) during NAS: Registration Request and receive LADN details (Data Network Name (DNN) and Tracking Areas) in the NAS: Registration Response. The SMF (Session Management Function) manages PDU Sessions based on the UE's location relative to the specified Tracking Areas.

Example Applications of Edge Computing

Real-Time Video Streaming at Events:

  • Use Case: Spectators at a Formula 1 Grand Prix can view different parts of the track through a locally generated, distributed, and accessed video streaming service.

  • Implementation: UPF and LADN co-located with the base station’s centralized unit at the venue.

Augmented Reality in Museums:

  • Use Case: Augmented reality applications provide visitors with additional information based on their location within the museum.

  • Implementation: Edge computing applications run on local servers that track visitor locations.

Local Break-Out for Corporate Networks:

  • Use Case: Large offices can define their network as an LADN connected to a UPF co-located with a base station, allowing local network access without involving the core network.

Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I):

  • Use Case: Roadside units (RSUs) along highways provide services such as traffic signal timing and car parking information to passing vehicles.

  • Implementation: RSUs, aware of traffic signal timings, communicate this information to approaching vehicles.

Example Network Architecture for Edge Computing

An example architecture for edge computing, illustrated in Figure 70, involves a UPF and LADN co-located with the base station. This setup uses separate NG-U interfaces for local and remote UPFs, establishing a PDU session specifically for connecting to the LADN. Another architecture, shown in Figure 65, uses a single PDU session to access both local and remote data networks, with an intermediate UPF providing routing based on IPv6 multi-homing or 'Uplink Classifier' (UL CL) traffic filtering.

Standards and Specifications

The ETSI Industry Specification Group (ISG) for Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) has published numerous reports and specifications, including the ETSI GS MEC 003 Framework and Reference Architecture. These documents provide guidelines for 5G solutions, including API definitions for third-party application developers.


Edge computing in 5G networks brings computational resources closer to users, enhancing their experience and improving network efficiency. This approach supports various applications, from real-time video streaming and augmented reality to corporate networking and V2I communication, leveraging advanced architectures and standardized specifications for seamless integration and operation.

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