SKT designs system to cut down 5G latency

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SKT designs system to cut down 5G latency


SK Telecom employees test mobile edge computing technology at the company’s open lab in Bundang, Gyeonggi. [SK TELECOM]

SK Telecom announced Tuesday that it has finished developing a system that greatly lowers latency on 5G phones.

The carrier said it developed its own mobile edge computing (MEC) environment to offer the ultra-low latency 5G services necessary for autonomous driving, immersive media services and remote surgery.

The basic idea behind MEC is to bring data centers closer to customers so that when they use their phones, data has less distance to travel and applications perform better with low latency.

Currently, data travels from a smartphones to a base station, then on to a mobile switching center and on to the internet network and data centers, before heading back again.

When the MEC environment is fully implemented, data only needs to travel from smartphones to base stations and mobile switching centers where the MEC architecture is installed.

The carrier intends to have all of its MEC centers up and running by the end of this year, when it will then enter the next phase of its quest to reduce latency as much as possible. It will then move smaller data centers to 5G base stations so that data only needs to travel between the phones and the base stations.

“This way, customers can experience 60 percent improved latency compared to the current network,” the company said in statement.

“Our MEC technology will create opportunities in the business-to-business sector, like for smart factories, offices and hospitals,” said Lee Kang-won, head of Cloud Labs at SK Telecom, during a press briefing with reporters held Tuesday.

As for hospitals, Lee said they can keep sensitive data within the building if they install the MEC infrastructure within the hospital rather than at mobile switching centers. This also offers low-latency networks for remote surgeries, the company said.

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