SoftBank starts deployment of 5G MEC in Japan

SoftBank announced that it opened a 5G MEC (Multi-access Edge Computing) site in the Kanto region and started the nationwide deployment of MEC servers in Japan from May 2022.
SoftBank 5G networkSoftBank 5G MEC delivers a low-latency, high-quality (low-jitter) and secure service experience by using 5G SA (5G Stand Alone) commercial services, which SoftBank began rolling out in October 2021, a Japan first.

SoftBank’s 5G MEC enables customers to experience high-speed, low-latency services through the deployment of applications close to user devices within the 5G SA network, which significantly reduces server access times.

“This deployment of 5G MEC is a major milestone for SoftBank. Its compatibility with SRv6 MUP and network slicing, along with its automation of operation features, make it unique across the industry,” said Keiichi Makizono, SoftBank Corp. Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer (CIO) in a news statement.

SoftBank’s 5G MEC platform provides a Kubernetes-based container environment, which is a de facto standard for application development. From physical infrastructure set-up to application deployment and distribution, 5G MEC sites are automated. Such features make applications on the 5G MEC platform more fault-tolerant, and they also enable faster service rollout with reduced complexity, both for application developers and application providers (such as SaaS providers).

SoftBank is promoting proof of technology for a variety of use cases with participating companies and organizations in the SoftBank 5G Consortium, as well as for other partners, and is driving the nationwide deployment of 5G MEC.

Furthermore, SoftBank is integrating 5G MEC with SRv6 Flex Algo and SRv6 Mobile User Plane (SRv6 MUP) to provide flexible services, such as network slicing — which provides virtual networks according to individual customer service requirements — and low-latency services that leverage the features of 5G MEC.

F5 is a strategic partner for SoftBank that has worked jointly on strategic initiatives including SRv6 and 5G MEC. “We look forward to further enabling SoftBank to execute on this vision, for their cloud native customers’ use cases in and beyond 5G,” said Ankur Singla, SVP, Security & Distributed Cloud Product Group, F5.

“Corezero enables Logging-as-a-Service. Our product FFWD is a real-time observability system built using software to achieve Ingest-Query-Separation, and Compute-Storage-Separation: an architecture type that best serves the modern high-volume log flows and query profiles in highly distributed cloud environments,” said Yee Soon, CEO, Corezero.

Niantic has been working with SoftBank on promotions for AR/location-based game titles, as well as network optimization at live events, etc.

“We believe that SoftBank’s nationwide deployment of 5G MEC will open up new possibilities not only for our game titles but also for developers and creators who use Niantic Lightship ARDK, which will lead to the creation of an innovative AR experience from Japan to the world in the future,” said Setsuto Murai, President, Niantic Japan.

Vantiq is a part of SoftBank’s 5G MEC program. “The combination of SoftBank’s Digital Platform, which provides the necessary edge-computing infrastructure, and Vantiq’s real-time distributed processing capabilities, will help drive market innovation and disruption through the creation of mission-critical, ultra low-latency business applications,” said Marty Sprinzen, CEO, Vantiq.

MIXI is actively utilizing the k8-based container platform for future microservice based application development. “By utilizing 5G MEC distributed all over Japan with a high affinity with mobile networking, we aim for further innovation in the sports entertainment area along with other futuristic applications,” said Junpei Yoshino, Chief General Manager, Development Operations, mixi, Inc.

“Using SRv6 for networking will make SoftBank’s 5G MEC even more optimal and easy to deploy at remote locations. By utilizing our regional Internet eXchanges (IX), BBIX with its partners will deliver the optimal network platform for the Digital Twin era,” said Hidetoshi Ikeda, Representative Director, President & CEO, BBIX, Inc.