Published on November 17, 2023, 2:03 am

As the commercial rollout of 5G continues, distributed computing has become increasingly important. Distributed computing, also known as “edge-to-cloud” compute, involves using disaggregated resources to perform compute operations. While distributed computing has played a supportive role in the 5G era, it will take on a leading role as enterprises and service providers transition to 6G.

According to ABI Research, a sound strategy for distributed computing and artificial intelligence (AI) will be crucial for successful 6G commercial deployment and enabling enterprise use cases. In the 6G era, end users will not only focus on connecting devices and generating data but also extracting valuable information from this data to make real-time operational decisions.

Reece Hayden, a distributed and edge computing analyst at ABI Research, emphasizes that with the rollout of 6G, the role of distributed computing is likely to change significantly. To provide effective services for enterprise applications, 6G networks will need to be deployed across distributed computing domains with integrated edge AI resources.

The shift towards 6G will drive greater convergence of technologies and a more prominent role for distributed computing integrated with edge AI. Three core expectations in the era of 6G—technology, commercialization, and society—will contribute to this growth in distributed intelligence:

1. Technology: 6G is expected to operate in the sub-terahertz spectrum, resulting in denser deployment and higher speeds that generate more data. This calls for a cloud-native, highly disaggregated, agile, and distributed computing architecture capable of intelligently scaling to meet real-time deployment requirements while supporting revolutionary enterprise use cases.

2. Commercialization: Use case enablement, data value extraction, and end-to-end network service expectations will require an evolution from best-effort service level agreements (SLAs). Instead, distributed intelligence resources will be essential for providing real-time data computation and value extraction support while achieving guaranteed SLAs. These resources will also support telco network monetization through ubiquitous network slice deployment.

3. Society: 6G is expected to drive sustainability and bridge the digital divide. Integrating distributed computing will facilitate data localization, limit backhauling, reduce network power consumption, and prioritize social value.

Achieving the necessary integration of distributed computing and AI will not be simple. Market standardization through increased cooperation and openness will be crucial for overcoming knowledge gaps and investment costs that could hinder telco-led technological convergence.

Hayden concludes that meeting the astronomical expectations for 6G networks will require a mature distributed intelligence strategy that fully leverages the network edge, telco cloud, and deeply integrates intelligence within network deployment and enterprise services.

In conclusion, as enterprises and service providers embrace 6G, distributed computing integrated with edge AI will play a pivotal role in enabling advanced use cases. Through enhanced technology, commercialization efforts, and societal benefits, 6G networks can revolutionize industries while driving sustainability and inclusivity.

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