Equinix, Inc., the world’s digital infrastructure company™ [1.], today announced it has deployed a first-of-its-kind, fully functional 5G and Edge Technology Development Center which includes a fully operational, 5G NSA (non-standalone) network from Nokia to test and validate various 5G services and use cases. Equinix is investing in helping service providers and network operators bring innovative concepts to market by providing an agile production framework for assessing, incubating and testing 5G and edge solutions for end-to-end secure applications.
Note 1. Equinix’s business is Internet connection and data centers. The company is the leader in global colocation data center market share, with 229 data centers in 27 countries on five continents. The data center industry is a multibillion-dollar industry. According to Gartner, end-user spending on data center infrastructure for 2020 was $188 billion, a 10.3% decrease from 2019’s spending.
The 5G and Edge Technology Development Center—located at the Equinix DA11 International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data center in Dallas—brings together select ecosystem participants to develop end-to-end edge solutions by providing a production-ready interconnection sandbox environment from the radio network to the cloud. Mobile network operators (MNOs), cloud platforms, technology vendors and enterprises come together at Equinix to test, demonstrate and accelerate complex 5G and edge scenarios—key activities that will make 5G deployments available to enterprises in the future. Equinix Fabric™ directly, securely and dynamically connects distributed infrastructure and digital ecosystems on Platform Equinix®. Customers can establish data center-to-data center network connections on demand between any two Equinix Fabric locations within a metro or globally via software-defined interconnection.
“As we look to a future where 5G is ubiquitous, the way that IP traffic moves between networks around the world will change completely, and interconnected data centers will play a crucial role in this new 5G-dominated future,” said Sean Hemphill, VP Webscale Business at Nokia. “Equinix’s approach to digital infrastructure enables access to a large ecosystem of end users and service providers. Nokia IP solutions underpin Equinix Fabric, providing seamless interconnection between its global data centers. We’re pleased that Equinix Fabric will bring the power of interconnection to help customers test real-world 5G and edge deployments.”
The Dallas-based 5G and Edge Technology Development Center will initially focus on the following use cases:
- Mobile Hybrid Multicloud Connectivity: Assessing strategies for ensuring that 5G user traffic can reach multiple clouds and hybrid edge computing resources, effectively and efficiently.
- Network Slicing: Aiming to facilitate private wireless enterprise networks supporting secure, predictable, end-to-end quality of experience.
- Distributed Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: Investigating the optimization of AI/ML applications and infrastructure distributed across the edge, directly connected to 5G, and interconnected to clouds for enabling data-dense capabilities, such as scene and video analytics.
- Enablement and Orchestration of Infrastructure: Exploring optimal deployment strategies for 5G RAN, fronthaul, core and edge computing infrastructure and functions management across domains.
- Augmented and Virtual Reality: Validating a uniform experience, consistent quality and anywhere usage with high mobility and high motion.
- Gaming: Demonstrating responsive hosted-gaming, low-latency peripherals leveraging the metro edge for delivery.
Equinix is actively standing up novel 5G use cases. The first use case is Secure Edge from Exium, which enables highly secure, seamless multi-access edge compute functionality with tightly integrated security and network functions from the cloud, to edge locations, to the devices themselves. With Exium deployed at Equinix data centers, customers get close to on-prem performance with the benefits of cloud aggregation and also manage enterprise-grade traffic breakout in real time.
“Applications and artificial intelligence are moving to the edge, whether we’re ready or not,” said Farooq Muzaffar, COO, Exium. “As enterprises embrace digital transformation, automation and intelligence at the edge, it’s crucial to have a partner like Equinix. The 5G and Edge Technology Development Center has been an incredible resource for us and our customers as we incubate, develop and deploy secure edge AI services with 5G access.”
The Equinix 2020-21 Global Tech Trends Survey—which surveyed 2,600 IT decision makers—uncovered a crucial need for infrastructure technology exploration in this area. While most respondents agreed that the biggest impact of 5G is the ability it gives businesses to take advantage of new technologies, more than a third worried about the need to re-architect infrastructure to take advantage of 5G capabilities.
“As companies develop new 5G technologies and services, they need a real-world environment to test and bring their concepts to life,” said Justin Dustzadeh, CTO, Equinix. “With Equinix’s rich ecosystem of service providers, partners and clouds, the 5G and Edge Technology Development Center is an ideal place to fully test their concepts in a real way, enabling them to bring new capabilities to market, accelerate adoption and deliver new revenue streams faster.”
Jim Poole, VP Business Development, Equinix added, “We’re excited to invite private enterprises, commercial organizations and researchers across industries to Dallas to test, validate and accelerate complex 5G deployments and interoperability scenarios.”
Equinix Fabric, an automated interconnection service, connects customers to more than 10,000 clouds, networks, and third-party platforms. Customers can connect a pair of Equinix Fabric locations within a metro or globally via software-defined interconnection.
The continued testing and validation phase for 5G edge computing among various vendors and operators underscores the relatively nascent nature of the technology. Equinix CEO Charles Meyers earlier this year shared muted enthusiasm for edge computing.
“I think it’s going to play out over a longer period of time than people currently anticipate,” Meyers said at the Citi 2021 Global TMT West Conference.
The expanded effort with Nokia also follows Equinix’s edge strategy, which Meyers described at the time as a largely partner-driven approach wherein other companies provide “far edge real estate” that will require and benefit from interconnection and access back into Equinix’s services.
- Equinix 5G and Edge Tech Development Center Drives Innovation [blog]
- 5G is changing the game – right now. Is your infrastructure ready? [whitepaper]
- Learn more about Equinix Fabric™ [website]
- Equinix 2020-21 Global Tech Trends Survey [ebook]
- Equinix Expands Dallas Infomart Campus with New $142M Data Center and 5G Proof of Concept Center [press release]
Equinix (Nasdaq: EQIX) is the world’s digital infrastructure company, enabling digital leaders to harness a trusted platform to bring together and interconnect the foundational infrastructure that powers their success. Equinix enables today’s businesses to access all the right places, partners, and possibilities they need to accelerate advantage. With Equinix, they can scale with agility, speed the launch of digital services, deliver world-class experiences, and multiply their value.