AT&T recently provided an update on its Palo Alto-based edge computing test zone, providing a deeper look at what it took away from the first phase of the experimentation and where it plans to go from there. The test zones were launched earlier this year with the goal of examing a decentralized approach to cloud-based processing in partnership with GridRaster. The company managed to confirm that edge computing, which effectively disperses processing nodes in a cloud network geographically rather than at some central hub away from end-users, brings plenty of benefits. Chiefly, it allowed for greater predictability in terms of latency. In fact, benefits for the tested applications, including VR, AR, and cloud-based gaming, were almost entirely centered around that rather than improving on the overall the length of delays themselves. In conclusion, the company says that immersive media will be among the biggest benefactors of dispersed edge network functionality working in real-time.
However, the process also showed that some key challenges remain, prompting further tests moving forward. To begin with, AT&T concludes that network optimizations are absolutely critical to making edge-computing work for high-intensity applications. With the incoming 5G networking revolution, understanding how to best optimize an experience for the above-mentioned use cases requires further exploration. To allow cloud-enhanced or streamed applications to run more smoothly and the entire 'capture and rendering pipeline' needs to be streamlined. Moreover, AT&T indicates that will primarily need to be focused on discovering new ways to distribute processing between nodes and end-users.
To that end, the carrier is planning to extend its edge test zone footprint to the entire Bay Area, rather than just focusing on Palo Alto. That will provide further insights into application mobility and potential as well as expanding on insights into how the technology will work over larger distances. Beyond that, it plans to continue actively seeking partnerships to extend the use cases beyond their current scope and to include 5G-specific applications for the technology, including autonomous vehicles operating on an edge-based networking solution. Furthermore, the mobile service provider announced a new collaboration with NVIDIA in support of those goals and demonstrated a new solution for gaming at this year's AT&T Spark event on September 10. That demo incorporated cloud and edge-networking over 5G using NVIDIA's GeForceNOW to showcase Square Enix's Shadow of the Tomb Raider with help from a third partner, Ericsson.