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AT&T and Microsoft are testing edge computing for enhanced 5G service

Alyssa Clementi

AT&T has announced it will be working with Microsoft to create a proof of concept that would combine network edge compute (NEC) capabilities with its 5G network and Microsoft’s Azure cloud services. The announcement comes a month after AT&T revealed they will be focusing on optimizing 5G services for businesses with three key pillars including mobile, fixed and edge computing.

AT&T is specifically searching for the smoothest solution for reducing latency and improving user experiences by targeting cloud services geographically closer to businesses. The network provider’s main goal is to give businesses access to compute power, reduced latency and optimized network routing without the need for additional on-site hardware.

"We're creating new ways for our customers to directly access a multitude of cloud options closer to where they do business," said Mo Katibeh, chief marketing officer, AT&T Business. "Using the blazing speeds of our fiber, LTE and 5G mobile connections, we're paving the way for how low-latency pathways to cloud services like Microsoft Azure can accelerate business transformation – for both enterprise and small business applications."

Yousef Khalidi, corporate vice president, Azure Networking, Microsoft Corp. said, "Our collaboration will pave the way to enable Microsoft Azure cloud services to connect to more customers and devices across the U.S. through AT&T's nationwide wireless network. Our two companies are working together to achieve the low latency connectivity needed for the explosion of devices and immense amount of data being created by computing at the edge."

AT&T plans to use drones to test its proof of concept and other NEC capabilities at the AT&T Foundry in Plano, Texas. The company revealed it will team up with Israeli-based Vorpol and combine its drone detection and location solution, VigilAir, with Azure cloud services. Through testing, AT&T and Microsoft aim to find the lowest latency with the highest compute scalability for enhanced 5G service.

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