Published on November 17, 2023, 7:06 am

As the commercial rollout of 5G continues, the importance of distributed computing is growing. Distributed computing, also known as edge-to-cloud compute, refers to the use of disaggregated resources for performing 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 involving distributed computing and artificial intelligence (AI) will be crucial for successful 6G deployment and enabling enterprise use cases.

In the 6G era, end users will no longer be solely concerned with connecting devices and generating data. Instead, they will want to extract valuable information from this data to make real-time operational decisions. Reece Hayden, an analyst specializing in distributed and edge computing at ABI Research, emphasizes that enterprise network expectations will evolve significantly with the rollout of 6G, resulting in a drastic change in the role of distributed computing.

Hayden cautions that deploying 6G networks across distributed computing domains with integrated edge AI resources is essential for providing effective services for enterprise applications.

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

1. Technology: 6G is expected to operate in the sub-terahertz spectrum, leading to denser deployments and higher speeds that generate more data. To meet real-time deployment requirements and support revolutionary enterprise use cases, the network must rely on a cloud-native, highly disaggregated, agile distributed computing architecture capable of intelligent scaling.

2. Commercialization: Use case enablement and extracting value from data require guaranteed service level agreements (SLAs). Distributed intelligence resources are necessary for real-time data computation and value extraction support while supporting network monetization through ubiquitous network slice deployment.

3. Society: 6G aims to drive sustainability and eliminate the digital divide. Integrating distributed computing helps with data localization, reduces backhauling, lowers network power consumption, and prioritizes social value.

Integrating distributed computing and AI for 6G will not be a simple task. Market standardization, increased cooperation, and openness among stakeholders will be crucial in overcoming knowledge gaps and investment costs that may hinder technological convergence led by telecommunications companies.

While it is still early in the development of 6G, meeting even some of the ambitious expectations for 6G networks will require a mature distributed intelligence strategy. This strategy should fully leverage the network edge and telco cloud while deeply integrating intelligence within network deployment and enterprise services.

In conclusion, as the world moves toward 6G, distributed computing and AI will play increasingly vital roles in enabling successful commercial deployment and driving innovation in enterprise use cases.


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