Vertical Bridge Holdings and DataBank are teaming up to develop micro data centers at the base of communication towers to enhance data delivery through edge computing.
Vertical Bridge is the largest private owner and manager of communication infrastructure in the United States, overseeing over 55,000 tower, rooftop, utility attachments, and other site locations supporting wireless network deployments.
DataBank, meanwhile, provides solutions for data center, interconnectivity, and cloud services. Both companies are owned by infrastructure investor Digital Bridge.
The companies indicate they will leverage their respective portfolios of towers, data centers, and fiber assets to offer the solution across the country.
Vertical Bridge says legacy wireless network architecture usually has a cloud interface at the city or regional level, and the increasingly large amount of traffic has to travel long distances at a high cost with substantial latency.
“In addition to improving distribution for content providers and carriers, edge computing can also create an important distribution point for the cloud at a lower cost,” DataBank CEO Raul Martynek noted. “There’s just one jump to the micro data center at the base of the towers, so not only is the latency for accessing the cloud reduced, but it opens the possibility for real-time applications and a richer, more immersive experience for end users.”
The move also hopes to align with emerging network architectures, according to the company.
“Tower-based data centers bring the cloud into local areas and dovetail with the merging C-RAN network architecture of the future,” Bernard Borghei, EVP of operations and co-founder of Vertical Bridge, commented. “We’re looking forward to working with DataBank to be an important first mover in this space.”
SNS Research recently estimated that centralized RAN, or C-RAN architecture networks are poised to reach global investments of nearly $9 billion by the end of 2017. Operators like Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint have jumped on board as they seek to ease the transition to 5G networks while reducing fronthaul costs, the firm indicated.
These micro data centers will lower latency and enable a host of new applications, potentially such as autonomous cars, the Internet of Things, and augmented/virtual reality, Wells Fargo analysts indicated.
“In a 5G mobile world, the need for lower latency and the expansion of the mobile network closer to the edge could be an interested trend to watch,” the analysts said.
The analysts also note that towner operator Crown Castle, has already teamed up with tech start-up Vapor IO to offer data center services at certain tower locations.