Edge Glossary

The language of Edge Computing is constantly expanding and evolving. To help simplify things further, we will be keeping this up to date with terms used in the Edge computing space, particularly terms that show up in our documentation, blogs, and other materials.

If there is a term missing, or one you would like to see explained more fully, please email us and let us know. 

  • 3GPP -

    3rd Generation Partnership Project
    A group of standards organizations that develop protocols for mobile telecommunications.

  • 5G -

    The “G” in 5G stands for generation. 5G is the fifth generation of wireless technology. 5G is characterized by bigger channels (which improves throughput), lower latencies allowing for real time applications, and the ability to connect more devices (which is increasingly important as the number of devices has grown exponentially).

  • 5G Edge Network -

    Edge locations are full deployments of advanced infrastructure next to Internet Exchange Points (IXP)

  • AAA -

    Authentication, Authorization and Accounting - A functional description of a type of security architecture for a network. When people refer to a AAA System or a "Triple A" system, they are referring to a kind of system that has control over:

    • Authentication - Is the user who we think they are and are they allowed into our system
    • Authorization - Which users have access to which services which and how many resources can be allocated to each user
    • Accounting - tracking the actual usage by the user

    "Triple A" systems are generally considered to be secure.

  • Active Directory -

    A widely used AAA control system. Learn More

  • AI -

    AI is an initialism that refers to Artificial Intelligence. AI is part of many use cases within edge computing. Many AI applications require real-time decision making, which require the ultra low latency capabilities of an edge network.

  • AP -

    Access Point / Mobile Access Point

    A mobile Access Point (AP) is a wireless device creates a wireless network to which wireless devices can connect, to send and receive data. The AP is the physical wireless router or hardware device that broadcasts network packets to wireless devices, and listens for network packets/beacons from mobile devices/WiFi devices, over a private LTE network/WiFi network. Access point is common name for gNB radio node in 5G which is equivalent of eNB in 4G architecture. The AP allows 4G/5G UE to connect with the mobile core using mobile air interface. The AP provides User Plane and Control Plane terminations towards UE.

  • API -

    Application Programmatic Interface

    An intermediary between two Applications/Systems or Generic Connectivity Interface to an Application. Software applications communicate with one another via APIs. Learn more about APIs and Private Networks

  • APN -

    Access Point Name

    An APN is effectively a tag that identifies your enterprise, or even a site or subset of mobile devices in your enterprise. It is used at the EPC to apply policy decisions, and allows devices to connect to the internet.

  • Bandwidth -

    Bandwidth is the maximum rate of data transfer across a given path. Bandwidth may be characterized as network bandwidth, data bandwidth, or digital bandwidth. It generally refers to the size of the pipe and the speed that carries the data back and forth, not necessarily the volume of traffic that passes through.

  • Bare Metal -

    Server hardware that does not have a base operating system installed. A computer's hardware assembly, structure, and components that is installed with either the firmware or basic input/output system (BIOS) software utility or no software at all.

  • CBRS -

    Citizens Broadband Radio Service

    Radio frequency band between 3.5 GHz and 3.7 GHz that can be used for 5G, 4G or LTE communication. The FCC has recently opened these band to general use. Learn more about CBRS

  • CDMA -

    Code Division Multiple Access - A channel access method used by various radio communication technologies. CDMA optimizes the use of available bandwidth as it transmits over the entire frequency range and does not limit the user’s frequency range.

  • CDN -

    Content Delivery Network - Network of geographical distributed group of servers that facilitates high-speed delivery of internet content by caching content in the cloud.

  • CDR -

    Call Data Record - A CDR is a record of all of the calls/IP addresses/activity that pass through a mobile wireless network, including traffic volume.

  • CoSP -

    Communication Service Provider - A telecom service provider that offers telecommunications services or some combination of information and media services, content, entertainment and application services over a telecom network.

  • COTS -

    Commercial Off The Shelf - Ready-to-use or prebuilt (software application)

  • CPE -

    Customer Premises Equipment - Local equipment that allows a network service subscriber to connect to the network of the network service provider.

  • CUPS -

    Control Plane User Plane Separation - Facilitates cellular operators to reduce data-center costs by hosting the control plane and the user plane in different geographic locations and to save transmission costs. The control system tells the data where to go, and the user plane/data plane/forwarding plane actually moves the data.

  • DAS -

    Distributed Antenna System - Network of antennas used to extend cellular wireless network coverage in the premises of an organization. DA is a network device that can relay, redirect, route and/or process Diameter messages that are fully compliant with the standard Diameter protocols defined by IETF and 3GPP. A DAS improve reliability of a network but reduce total power consumed by the antennas.

  • Diameter -

    Diameter is an Authentication Authorization and Accounting (AAA) protocol. It works on the Application Layer if we consider OSI Layered model. Diameter is a message based protocol, where AAA  nodes exchange messages and receive Positive or Negative acknowledgment for each message exchanged between nodes. For  message exchange  it internally uses the TCP and SCTP which makes diameter reliable. Learn More

  • Docker -

    A set of platform as a service products that use OS-level virtualization to deliver software in packages called containers. Learn more from Docker.com

  • DOOH -

    Digital Out Of Home - Media or advertising that appear in environments accessible to the public. Usually shown outside of the home or within the confines of what is traditionally considered computing. EG - Digital billboards and bus shelter signs.

  • DSS -

    Dynamic Spectrum Sharing - Allows smooth transitions from 4G to LTE to 5G, etc

  • E-UTRAN -

    Evolved UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access Network - The E-UTRAN handles the radio communications between the mobile and the evolved packet core and has one component, the evolved base stations called eNodeB.

  • Edge Compute -

    A distributed computing paradigm that brings computation and data storage closer to the sources of data. This is expected to improve response times and save bandwidth. It is an architecture rather than a specific technology. It is a topology- and location-sensitive form of distributed computing. Alef uses edge computing concepts to offer MNaaS. (Mobile Network as a Service)

  • Edge Peering -

    Peering is a method that allows two networks to connect and exchange traffic directly without having to pay a third party to carry traffic across the Internet. Learn more at Stackpath

  • Edge Point -

    The sites or nodes that enable enterprises to create and operate private mobile networks. Edge Points represent the required software, including the EPC and eSIMs, that Alef offers enterprises to enable and provision a private network.

  • eNodeB -

    Evolved Node B - A network element in the RAN (Radio Access Network) which is responsible for the transmission and reception of radio signals in one or more cells to or from user equipment. Mobile tower or base station that the user equipment connects to, for access to mobile network/mobile internet. Legacy term for a mobile Access Point - the hardware that is connected to the mobile phone network that communicates directly wirelessly with mobile handsets (UEs), like a base transceiver station (BTS) in GSM networks.

  • EPC -

    Evolved Packet Core - The framework that converges voice and data on a 4G LTE network. This allows operators to deploy and operate one packet network for 2G, 3G, WLAN, WiMax, LTE and fixed access (Ethernet, DSL, cable and fiber)

  • EPS -

    Evolved Packet System - The EPS is the Fourth Generation (4G) mobile system consisting of two parts – core network and radio network, defined by the standard body 3GPP.

  • eSIM -

    Embedded Subscriber Identity Module - A piece of software that can be used instead of a physical SIM to establish connectivity between user equipment and the eNodeB of a mobile service provider.

  • ESW -

    Software Agent - An obsolete software switch that enabled communication between the user equipment and a private edge network. With Alef's MNaaS you no longer need a software agent.

  • GPRS -

    General Packet Radio Service - General Packet Radio Service is a 3GPP-specified packet oriented mobile data standard on the 2G and 3G cellular communication network's global system for mobile communications. GPRS was established by European Telecommunications Standards Institute in response to the earlier CDPD and i-mode packet-switched cellular technologies.

  • GSMA -

    Global System for Mobile Communications Association - Organization that allocates official IMEI number ranges to all manufacturers of 3GPP compliant devices and records these ranges and device model information in a database.

  • HSS -

    Home Subscriber Server - A network element of EPC that contains user related and subscription related information in a centralized database.

  • ICCID -

    Integrated Circuit Card Identifier - The number used by the network operator to identify the SIM card.

  • IETF -

    The Internet Engineering Task Force - Internet Engineering Task Force is a standards organization for the Internet and is responsible for the technical standards that make up the Internet protocol suite.

  • IMSI -

    International Mobile Subscriber Identity - A unique number used to recognize the carrier being used by your mobile device.

  • IoT -

    Internet of Things - Physical objects with the ability to connect and exchange data with each other over the Internet. A network of objects that are embedded with sensors, processing ability, software, to connect to and exchange data with other such objects or networks.

  • IPDR -

    Internet Protocol Detail Record - A data record of IP Service usage. Records IP addresses and activity that pass through a specific IP address - The internet version of a CDR

  • IPX -

    IP Packet Exchange - Network layer protocol in the IPX/SPX protocol suite that is a prominent protocol for internetworking.

  • L3 VSwitch -

    A software program that performs the function of physical switch hardware and operates at OSI Layer 3.

  • Latency -

    Time required to send data over two points in a network.

  • LBO -

    Local Breakout - Enables the mobile network operator to peer the network traffic to the Internet at the edge point or any other enterprise intranet destinations.

  • LTE -

    Long Term Evolution - 4G mobile telecommunication standard.

  • MEC -

    Multi-Access Edge Computing - Mobile edge computing provides content providers and software developers cloud-computing capabilities which are close to the end users.

  • Micro Service -

    Microservices are an architectural approach to building applications. As an architectural framework, microservices are distributed and loosely coupled, so one team’s changes won’t break the entire app. The benefit to using microservices is that development teams are able to rapidly build new components of apps to meet changing business needs. Learn More from Red Hat

  • MNaaS -

    Mobile Network as a Service - An API based system that allows you to start your own private LTE network without knowledge of 3GPP standards.

  • MNO -

    Mobile Network Operator - A mobile operator/carrier that owns the cellular network infrastructure.

  • MSISDN -

    Mobile Station International Subscriber Directory Number - The mobile phone number, including the country code and national destination code.

  • MVNO -

    Mobile Virtual Network Operator - A wireless communications services provider that does not own the wireless network infrastructure over which it provides services to its customers. Read more at Wikipedia

  • NaaS -

    Network as a Service - Network provided as a service to subscribers by a network service provider on a pay-as-you-go basis.

  • NAC -

    Network access control, or NAC, solutions support network visibility and access management through policy enforcement on devices and users of corporate networks. Learn More

  • NOC -

    Network Operations Center - A centralized location to remotely monitor network components such as server, switches, routers etc.

  • OnGo Alliance -

    Formerly the CBRS alliance. The OnGo Alliance supports the common interests of its members, implementers and operators for the development, commercialization, and adoption of LTE solutions for the US 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service.

  • OPR -

    Optical Power Received - The power of the light source received at the receiving end of a fiber optic system.

  • Orchestration -

    Automated configuration for coordination and management of various software systems and processes, typically in cloud-based environments. Various tools such as Puppet and Ansible are available for software workflow orchestration on the cloud.

  • PDN -

    Packet data network - A network such as the Internet that provides data services.

  • Physical SIM -

    Subscriber Identity Module - A piece of hardware that can be inserted into SIM slot of a user equipment, for the purpose of connecting to a mobile service provided by a mobile service provider. Usually a small plastic card with a circuit on it.

  • PLMN -

    Public Land Mobile Network - It is also known as cellular network and is identified by a globally unique PLMN code.

  • PoP -

    A point of presence (PoP) is a demarcation point, access point, or physical location at which two or more networks or communication devices share a connection. Points of presence include routers, switches, servers, and other devices necessary for traffic to cross over networks.

  • QoS -

    Quality of Service - Use of mechanisms or technologies that work on a network to control traffic and ensure the performance of critical applications with limited network capacity. It enables organizations to adjust their overall network traffic by prioritizing specific high-performance applications. Learn More

  • RAN -

    Radio Access Network

    "The part of a mobile network that connects end-user devices, like smartphones, to the cloud. This is achieved by sending information via radio waves from end-user devices to a RAN's transceivers, and finally from the tranceivers to the core network which connects to the global internet" Read Full Definition from Red Hat

  • SAR -

    Specific Absorption Rate - SAR values are an important tool in judging the maximum possible exposure to radiation from a wireless device.

  • SAS -

    Spectrum Access System - Manages and assignes CBRS spectrum use on a dynamic, as-needed basis across three tiers of access: 1) Tier-1 – Incumbent, 2) Tier 2 – Priority Access License (PAL) and 3) Tier 3 – General Authorized Access (GAA).

  • SAS -

    Subscriber Alerting Signal - An automated frequency coordinator that manages spectrum sharing on a dynamic, as-needed basis across the different tiers of users that use the CBRS spectrum.

  • SD-ME -

    Software Defined Mobile Edge - Mobile edge service that is controlled and defined by software.

  • SDADF -

    Software Defined Automatic Direction Finder - How signals can go from wherever to wherever else - it automatically figures out its path. ADF (Automatic Direction Finder) is the radio signals in the low to medium frequency band of 190 Khz. to 1750 Khz. It was widely used today. It has the major advantage over VOR navigation in the reception is not limited to line of sight distance.

  • SDN -

    Software Defined Networking - Using software-based controllers or APIs to communicate with a networks' hardware and direct network traffic. Using software to control hardware.

  • SDWAN -

    Software Defined Wide Area Network - a software defined service that connects and extends enterprise networks over large geographical distances.

  • SGW -

    Serving Gateway - A network element of EPC routes and forwards user data packets towards the PGW via GTP sessions, and acts as the mobility anchor for the user plane during inter-eNodeB handovers.

  • Shared Spectrum -

    Shared spectrum is a term that refers to a band of radio frequencies that are available to a wide range of users and allow for the creation of private cellular networks. In the US, this currently takes the form of CBRS. Other countries, including France, UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, Hong Kong and Australia have similar schemes.

  • SI -

    Systems Integrator - A third party outside of Alef who would implement MNaaS as part of a larger installation.

  • SIM -

    Subscriber Identity Module - The technology that securely stores a users identification information for use on a specific mobile network.

  • Subscriber -

    An individual enterprise user that uses a physical SIM or an eSIM in the user equipment/mobile device.

  • Throughput -

    The amount of data transmitted between two or more endpoints in a second.

  • UE -

    User Equipment - Legacy term for a mobile device

  • ULL/UHB -

    Ultra Low Latency - Video on demand schemas that make it so you can stream over multiple bitrates, bandwidths, protocols quickly and easily.

  • VAR -

    Value Added Resellers / Agents - Resellers for computer software / hardware and networking products.

  • vEPC -

    Virtual Evolved Packet Core - Software that virtualizes the functions required to converge voice and data over an LTE network.