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The Broadband Forum today unveiled a framework, TR-466, defining a new metro-compute networking architecture designed to move applications or content toward lower edge tiers in the network hierarchy. The goal is to provide users with a better Quality of Experience (QoE).

Telecom operators already own a large number of edge sites and are attempting to add more. Carriers are recognizing the importance of edge computing services. AT&T and T-Mobile, for example, have each pursued edge computing partnerships.

However, according to the Broadband Forum, to maximize edge investments, providers will need to be able to transform into ICT service providers and adapt their business offerings from bandwidth access to network connection, computing and storage to deliver information and content, not just bandwidth. Providers will be able to save asset investment and operation and maintenance (O&M) costs through edge sharing for Over-The-Top (OTT) streaming, gaming, or virtual reality services

To facilitate this, TR-466 will include “in-depth integration of computing and network on top of the cloud-based broadband network to connect isolated edge sites,” like Broadband Forum’s CloudCO, as a single cloud to serve edge computing services.

China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom, among others, are already recognizing some of the metro-compute networking benefits, the forum noted.

“The latest release of TR-466 represents a big step for the industry as the standard will help cloud providers and operators overcome the routing and scalability challenges at the edge, said George Dobrowski, Broadband Forum SDN/NFV Work Area co-director, in a prepared statement about the metro-compute framework. “Furthermore, it enables virtualization and disaggregation of edge elements and nodes to run applications in proximity to the customer where latency is important. This is particularly important for enterprise networks and will provide a shareable infrastructure for customers that can be seamlessly managed with reduced complexity,”

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