Demystifying MEC and ICN

5G Americas Publishes Whitepaper on Understanding Information Centric Networking and Mobile Edge Computing

BELLEVUE, WA--(Marketwired - December 14, 2016) - 5G Americas, the industry trade association and voice of 5G and LTE for the Americas, today announced the publication of a technical whitepaper titled Understanding Information Centric Networking & Mobile Edge Computing that details proposed network architectures of ICN and MEC technologies.

"5G may introduce new air-interfaces, however, the promise of the next generation of mobile networks is as much about new architectures in support of diverse use-cases, from the Internet of Things (IoT) to high-definition video, as it is about Radio Frequency parameters," stated Chris Pearson, President of 5G Americas.

The 5G Americas report suggests that 5G should be based on new network architectures and protocols designed specifically with support for mobility, security and content caching as fundamental design criteria. Information-centric networking (ICN) and Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) are receiving increasing interest in the context of future wireless networks as both technologies continue to evolve.

ICN is presented as a potential technology for consideration as 5G due to its inherent support for mobility. The basic idea of ICN is to enrich network-layer functions with content awareness so that routing, forwarding, caching and data transfer operations are performed on topology-independent content names rather than on IP addresses. The growing deployment of Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN) allows for rapid insertion of new routing techniques such as ICN. As realized in the Named-Data Networking (NDN) and Content-Centric Networking (CCNx) programs, ICN is described as possibly a leading architecture that can meet the design criteria for 5G. Evolvement of ICN could deliver long-awaited efficiencies and align networking architecture to support the information generation.

As networks evolve, mobile traffic expands and Internet of Things (IoT) devices become more widespread, issues surrounding available bandwidth and the need for low latency become more critical. Because these applications and services are found at the edge instead of within the cloud, the MEC server can address these issues by providing cloud computing capabilities closer to the end user than currently provided by traditional cloud-based computing systems. Edge Computing, as implied by its name, is adding momentum to computing power for edges of a network. This will lead to success of smart devices for instructions or data analysis so they can perform analytics themselves on streaming data and communicate with other devices to complete tasks.

With MEC, responsiveness can be improved, resulting in an enriched Quality of Experience for the user. The basic premise of MEC, as well as Edge Cloud in general, is to place generic compute and storage close to the network edge in a mobile network environment. This extends the cloud, typically a centralized, single resource, to the local environment. While the MEC environment would be both embedded and managed from the operator environment, it is intended that the compute and storage resources will be exposed via a set of Application Protocol Interfaces (APIs) such that application operators and developers can utilize their capabilities.

"As the white paper outlines, MEC and ICN are in different stages of development and can be complementary concepts, as they are by no means mutually inter-dependent. Both MEC and ICN solutions may be deployed independently of one another," stated Chris Pearson, President of 5G Americas.

Understanding Information Centric Networking & Mobile Edge Computing was written by members of 5G Americas and is available for free download on the 5G Americas website. The white paper working group leader was Michael Recchione of Cisco.

About 5G Americas: The Voice of 5G and LTE for the Americas
5G Americas is an industry trade organization composed of leading telecommunications service providers and manufacturers. The organization's mission is to advocate for and foster the advancement and full capabilities of LTE wireless technology and its evolution beyond to 5G, throughout the ecosystem's networks, services, applications and wirelessly connected devices in the Americas. 5G Americas is invested in developing a connected wireless community while leading 5G development for all the Americas. 5G Americas is headquartered in Bellevue, Washington and officially announced the change of the organization's name from 4G Americas on February 12, 2016. More information is available at

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5G Americas' Board of Governors members include: América Móvil, AT&T, Cable & Wireless, Cisco, CommScope, Entel, Ericsson, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Intel, Kathrein, Mitel, Nokia, Qualcomm, Sprint, T-Mobile US, Inc. and Telefónica.

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Contact Information:

5G Americas
Vicki Livingston
+1 414 688 9000

In the last decade, mobile data traffic has skyrocketed, a trend that's unlikely to subside in the foreseeable future.  The use of the Internet, cloud and the ubiquity of the web as an application platform created an unprecedented increase in traffic due in part to the development of new web standards and the innovation in mobile wireless technologies. To meet this demand, the mobile industry is rethinking some fundamental aspects of network design. With this growth in use, there's an increased amount of data being sent over multi hop public links.