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Enabling the 5G Edge: The Power of Programmable Fabrics

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5G has brought edge computing to the forefront. From initial opportunities to the role of the edge platform. Beyond the hype, the industry continues to march forward because the benefits of lower latency, reduced footprint and power consumption, higher performance, and cost efficiencies are simply too hard to ignore.

For mobile network operators (MNOs), putting compute capabilities at the edge of their network is not new — mobile/multi-access edge compute (MEC) has been around for some time. The edge exists in many mobile networks, where edge-based content-delivery network (CDN) servers hosting popular streaming media content sites help reduce latency and transport bandwidth consumption.

The path to transition can be a challenge if not approached with the right mindset. Mobile network operators exploring edge architectures will need to contemplate how to best adapt — not replicate — the standard data center architectures they use today.
As part of a 5G build-out, Kaloom recently commissioned a research paper with AvidThink to explore these complexities. The research examines how programmable fabrics in edge architectures (Like our Cloud Edge Fabric™) can minimize the deployment footprint, reduce power consumption and cooling needs, and improve network performance. The research paper outlines why a flexible framework for 5G RAN and the UPFs is recommended.

At Kaloom, we believe service providers should look to new architectures and different solutions stacks from a more open vendor ecosystem versus just purchasing an entire stack wholesale from an incumbent network equipment provider (NEP). AvidThink also examines the fundamental edge solution architecture principles that both cloud providers and telcos realize are critical and come up in our conversations with carriers.

Finally, the critical importance of developing open ecosystems with partners like the Linux Foundation, CNTT, TIP, ONF, and OCP is also discussed as service providers require additional assurance from these industry forums, sponsored by large service providers and vendors alike. An MNO that leverages programmable fabrics and open and disaggregated architecture can accelerate its 5G UPF performance, time to market, and, most importantly, time to monetization. A programmable fabric approach can provide benefits at the edge for an MNO’s 5G rollout. For private 5G selecting the right edge platform is critical to a successful network to build private enterprise networks.
Major MNOs and network solution providers are actively trialing this innovative architecture. For those contemplating new 5G rollouts or making non-standalone (NSA) to standalone (SA) transitions, understanding how they can take advantage of this unique solution architecture could reduce their costs and improve customer outcomes.
The continued advance of 5G is more critical than ever, with COVID-19 still affecting our working and personal lives. Society continues to maintain social distancing, forcing us to rely on home broadband service — something 5G has the potential to amp up. 5G could improve everything from simple video conferencing to telemedicine and advanced augmented and virtual reality. While we are still in the early stages of 5G applications, and it is hard to predict which ones will succeed, what is certain is that the edge architecture needs to be flexible to adapt to these needs and new standards as they emerge.

We hope this research helps provide recommendations on the first steps with Programmable Fabric solutions. In the march forward, a programmable fabric approach can provide benefits at the edge for both MNO's 5G rollout and private 5G. We look forward to your feedback and welcome your discussion. Get in touch with us at

For more information, download a copy of the research briefing here.