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Edge computing to harness even radio masts for data center use

Edge computing enables the smooth functionality of 5G technology services. Existing infrastructure presents an excellent way to distribute the content and computing power of applications across the network. Fredrik Brunberg, Director of Digita’s Data Center Services, offers details.

Within two or three years, 5G technology will be akin to our current 4G: Data is moving increasingly fast and becoming an integral part of our daily lives. For instance, in large-scale public events, 10,000 people can simultaneously film video in 4K resolution on their smartphones and upload it on the web live. They can also assume that everything works and in real time.

What does the coming 5G world require from the data transfer infrastructure? The answer is edge computing. In other words the physical decentralization of the computing power required by content and services to several different sections of the network where they are always close to and quickly accessible by consumers.  A variety of solutions have been introduced on the market, such as portable, container-built miniature data centers. For some, however, the solution is already in place.

Refining the existing network to a new level

Several global telecommunication mast and data center operators are teaming up to offer edge computing. At Digita, both of these functions are readily available in-house: We have a nationwide network of radio and TV masts, which will be updated to be compatible with the new demand for edge computing infrastructure.

Digita’s masts are significant telecommunication hubs by themselves, and all of them include facilities that can be adapted as data centers to house hardware and information. There are large facilities with redundant power supply and backup generators already in place at the vicinity of many of the masts. Converting them into data centers that match high-level requirements is a fairly simple task, but the possibility to store data is not enough in itself.

Services within reach of consumers

In addition to its storage, the data must be made available to users. Our unique mast network can be constructed into a nationwide cloud of hundreds of data storage nodes in order to provide services to users anywhere in the country.

Our masts have been built in the 1960s and 70s, and their locations are excellent for the transmission of mobile signals. Before long, we will be able to offer our customers a ready platform and a unique network for the distribution of applications.

What about security issues?  As with other matters, no compromises are needed. Access to our masts is restricted, the areas are under video surveillance and often manned during the day.

The time for 5G pilots is now!

Edge computing transcends national borders. “I believe that Helsinki will become a significant international data hub. The city’s location is strategically important at the crossroad of the connections between Europe, Asia and Russia” says Fredrik Brunberg, Director of Digita’s Data Center and Cloud Services. “For example, latency times from Stockholm or Germany grow too big when providing services to the St. Petersburg economic area,. But by using Helsinki as the source of the content, latency can be minimised” continues Brunberg.

The time to carry out pilot studies for services based on 5G and edge computing is now, and there is no better place for the tests than Finland. We Finns are heavy consumers of mobile data and quick to adopt new technologies, such as 5G, rapidly and extensively. The train is moving, hop on!

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