Bell Canada deploys the first AWS Wavelength Zone at the edge of its 5G network

In yet another tie-up between telcos and cloud computing giants, Bell Canada is the first Canadian network operator to launch multi-access edge computing (MEC) services using Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) Wavelength platform.

Building on Bell’s agreement with AWS, announced last year, together the two companies are deploying AWS Wavelength Zones throughout the country at the edge of Bell’s 5G network starting in Toronto.

The Bell Canada Public MEC service embeds AWS compute and software defined storage capabilities at the edge of Bell’s 5G network.

The Wavelength technology is then tied into AWS cloud regions that host the applications. This moves access closer to the end user or device to lower latency and increase performance for services such as real-time visual data processing, augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR), artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML), and advanced robotics.

 

 

 

 

Source: Bell Canada

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“Because that link between the application and the edge device is a completely controllable link – it doesn’t involve the internet, doesn’t involve these multiple hops of the traffic to reach the application – it allows us to have a very particular controlled link that can give you different quality of service,” explained George Elissaios, director and GM for EC2 Core Product Management at AWS, during a briefing call with analysts.

 

Network infrastructure is the backbone for Canadian businesses today as they innovate and advance in the digital age. Organizations across retail, transportation, manufacturing, media & entertainment and more can unlock new growth opportunities with 5G and MEC to be more agile, drive efficiency, and transform customer experiences.

 

Optimized for MEC applications, AWS Wavelength deployed on service providers’ 5G networks provides seamless access to cloud services running in AWS Regions. By doing so, AWS Wavelength minimizes the latency and network hops required to connect from a 5G device to an application hosted on AWS. AWS Wavelength is now available in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, South Korea, and Japan in partnership with global communications service providers.

 

Creating an immersive shopping experience with Bell Canada 5G:

 

Increasingly, retailers want to offer omni-channel shopping experiences so that consumers can access products, offers, and support services on the channels, platforms, and devices they prefer. For instance, there’s a growing appetite for online shopping to replicate the in store experience – particularly for apparel retailers. These kinds of experiences require seamless connectivity so that customers can easily and immediately pick up on a channel after they leave another channel to continue the experience. These experiences also must be optimized for high-quality viewing and interactivity.

 

Rudsak worked with Bell and AWS to deploy Summit Tech’s immersive shopping platform, Odience, to offer its customers an immersive and seamless virtual shopping experience with live sales associates and the ability to see merchandise up close. With 360-degree cameras at its pop-up locations and launch events, Rudsak customers can browse the racks and view a new product line via their smartphones or VR headsets from either the comfort of their own home or while on the go. To find out more, please click here.

Bell Canada Public MEC with AWS Wavelength is now available in the Toronto area, with additional Wavelength Zones to be deployed in the future. To find out more, please visit: Bell.ca/publicmec

AWS currently has Wavelength customers (see References below) in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, South Korea, Japan, and now Canada. It also has deals with Verizon, Vodafone, SK Telecom, and Dish Network.

Bell Canada explained that the service is targeted at enterprise customers. It will initially offer services to enterprises in Toronto, with expansion planned into other major Canadian markets.

Quotes:

“We’re excited to partner with AWS to bring together Bell’s 5G network leadership with the world’s leading cloud and AWS’ robust portfolio of compute and storage services. With general availability of AWS Wavelength Zones on Canada’s fastest network, it becomes possible for businesses to tap into all-new capabilities, reaching new markets and serving customers in exciting new ways. With our help, customers are thinking bigger, innovating faster and pushing boundaries like never before. Our team of experts are with customers every step of the way on their digital transformation journey. With our ongoing investments in supporting emerging MEC use cases, coupled with our end-to-end security built into our 5G network, we are able to give Canadian businesses a platform to innovate, harness the power of 5G and drive competitiveness for their businesses.”

–  Jeremy Wubs, Senior Vice President of Product, Marketing and Professional Services, Bell Business Markets

“AWS Wavelength brings the power of the world’s leading cloud to the edge of 5G networks so that customers like Rudsak, Tiny Mile and Drone Delivery Canada can build highly performant applications that transform consumers’ experiences. We are particularly excited about our deep collaboration with Bell as it accelerates innovation across Canada, by offering access to 5G edge technology to the whole AWS ecosystem of partners and customers. This enables any enterprise or developer with an AWS account to power new kinds of mobile applications that require ultra-low latencies, massive bandwidth, and high speeds.”

–  George Elissaios, Director and General Manager, EC2 Core Product Management, AWS

“With Bell’s Public MEC and AWS Wavelength we are able to offer new, fully immersive shopping experiences to our customers. Shoppers can virtually explore our new arrivals and interact in real-time with our staff and industry experts during interactive events and pop-ups. Thanks to the hard work, support and expertise of Bell, AWS and Summit Tech, we were able to successfully deliver our first immersive/interactive shopping event with the quality, innovation and excellence that our brand is known for.”

–  Evik Asatoorian, President and Founder, Rudsak

“Canadian organizations across all industries are transforming their workflows by harnessing the power of new technologies to launch new products and services. In fact, 85% of Canadian businesses are already using the Internet of Things (IoT). In order to maximize the benefits of cloud computing, intelligent endpoints and AI, while adding emerging technologies like 5G, we need to modernize our digital infrastructure to embrace multi-access edge computing (MEC). Modernized edge computing interconnects core, cloud and diverse edge sites, enabling CIOs and business leaders to optimize their architectures to resolve technical challenges around latency, bandwidth and compute power, financial concerns about cloud ingress/egress and compute costs as well as governance issues such as regulatory compliance without losing advanced features like machine learning, AI and analytics. MEC offers the possibility of deploying modernized, cloud-like resources everywhere to support the ability to extract value from data.”

–  Nigel Wallis, Research VP, Canadian Industries and IoT, IDC Canada

Quick facts
  • Bell is the first Canadian telecommunications company to offer AWS-powered public MEC to business customers
  • First AWS Wavelength Zone to launch in the Toronto region, with additional locations in Canada to follow
  • Apparel retailer Rudsak among the first to leverage Bell Public MEC with AWS Wavelength to deliver an immersive virtual shopping experience
Links
About Bell

Bell is Canada’s largest communications company, providing advanced broadband wireless, TV, Internet, media and business communication services throughout the country. Founded in Montréal in 1880, Bell is wholly owned by BCE Inc. To learn more, please visit Bell.ca or BCE.ca.

References:

https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/bell-and-amazon-web-services-bring-5g-edge-compute-to-canada-893347247.html

https://www.sdxcentral.com/articles/interview/bell-canada-5g-edge-embedded-on-amazon-wavelength/2022/04/

AWS looks to dominate 5G edge with telco partners that include Verizon, Vodafone, KDDI, SK Telecom

Verizon, AWS and Bloomberg media work on 4K video streaming over 5G with MEC

AWS deployed in Digital Realty Data Centers at 100Gbps & for Bell Canada’s 5G Edge Computing

Amazon AWS and Verizon Business Expand 5G Collaboration with Private MEC Solution

AWS Cloud WAN preview: a global network that spans multiple physical networks and geographic locations

On the heels of announcing the AWS 5G Private network earlier this week,  the world’s largest tech conglomerate described another new blockbuster network service.  AWS Cloud WAN is a managed wide area networking (WAN) service that simplifies the way enterprise end users build, manage, and monitor a global network that connects resources running across Amazon’s cloud and on-premises environments.

With Cloud WAN, customers use a central dashboard (the AWS portal) and network policies to create a global network that spans multiple geographically dispersed locations and networks—eliminating the need to configure and manage different networks individually using different technologies. Network policies can be used to specify which of the customer’s Amazon Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs) and on-premises locations you wish to connect through AWS VPN or third-party software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) products.  The Cloud WAN central dashboard generates a complete view of the network to monitor network health, security, and performance.

Cloud WAN automatically creates a global network across AWS Regions using Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) so customers can easily exchange routes around the world.

Like all AWS services, Cloud WAN is designed to be managed through the AWS portal, which has become a single point to manage the “full stack” of AWS services – from the network through application. Through the console, IT professionals can configure connections to all company locations including branches, data centers, headquarter locations as well as Amazon Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs) though a graphical interface.

Businesses will connect into the network through a VPN or a direct connect (private line) for the “last mile” and then will have access to the global AWS network. AWS customers have been using the network already for setting up transit gateways or cloud connection, but this can now be extended to some or all of the corporate network.

“Imagine you’re a large global company with dozens of manufacturing sites round the world… — you need to connect them all to AWS,” Amazon CTO Werner Vogels said during his re:Invent keynote address. Cloud WAN “actually builds it for you in minutes using the big AWS backbone for you, to give you a highly reliable, highly available, software-defined wide area network running over AWS infrastructure,” Vogels added.

Source: Amazon blog post on Cloud WAN

Cloud WAN is available in ten AWS Regions in Public Preview; US East (Northern Virginia), US West (Northern California), Africa (Cape Town), Asia Pacific (Mumbai), Asia Pacific (Singapore), Asia Pacific (Sydney), Asia Pacific (Tokyo), Europe (Ireland), Europe (Frankfurt), and South America (São Paulo).

Cloud WAN will have a consumption-based pricing model. The Cloud-WAN site shows there are three pricing factors – the number of cloud network edge (CNE) locations deployed, the number of attachments to each CNE and data processing charges for traffic sent through each CNE.  This is a new type of pricing model for telecom services and may result in customers paying less than they do now.  That’s because the current telco industry pricing is based on a flat fee up to a certain data traffic capacity and then an “over-charge” for additional data transmitted over the network.

AWS has been working with industry leading partners at the launch of Cloud WAN. Here are some of the things they have been doing and saying:

Source: Amazon blog post on Cloud WAN

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Analysis by Zeus Kerravala of ZK Research:

The rise of distributed clouds, combined with containers and microservices is making workloads and applications much more ephemeral in nature requiring connectivity that is equally ephemeral. Legacy networks are not nearly dynamic enough to meet the needs of a business running modernized clouds, so AWS is building a service to change the network. While not known as a network provider, AWS has a very sophisticated network that’s highly available with per region fault isolation built into it and those benefits would be passed on to the customer.

The initial use case for a product like this would be for the customer to continue to use their existing telco network for the primary network and use AWS Cloud WAN for offload, backup connections or alternative paths. In this case, the telco networks would still be managed through the AWS console in a “bring your own carrier” model, making the console the single control point for the global network.

For telcos, this kind of “co-opetition” is new as many have a near monopoly in some regions, which is why this group of companies isn’t known for their innovation. It will be interesting to see how the network operators respond. I do know, now that AWS has jumped into networking, it will continue to deliver innovative features that improve network reliability, make it easier to operate and improves application performance. Some will embrace this, change their operating model and benefit from this. I suspect many won’t and will view AWS as a bigger threat.

While Cloud WAN may be negative to the service providers, it should be a positive for its SD-WAN partners, which include Aruba, Cisco, Palto Alto Networks and VMware. AWS told me it has no intention of getting into making SD-WAN appliances but would rather leverage partners. Customers will be able to manage these appliances through the AWS Console as well as the network services.

References:

https://aws.amazon.com/about-aws/whats-new/2021/12/introducing-aws-cloud-wan/

https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/networking-and-content-delivery/introducing-aws-cloud-wan-preview/

https://www.fiercetelecom.com/cloud/aws-adds-more-network-muscle-cloud-wan-kerravala

https://techblog.comsoc.org/2021/11/30/theres-nothing-like-it-aws-ceo-announces-private-5g-at-aws-re-invent-2021-dish-network-endorsement/

Learn more by visiting the product overview page and documentation.

To get started, visit the Cloud WAN console or read AWS’ technical blog post and  FAQ page