Rakuten Mobile Launches R&D into Advanced Edge Cloud Technology, with Funding Awarded by NICT

Tokyo, November 17, 2023 – Rakuten Mobile, Inc. today announced that its research and development (R&D) project into advanced edge cloud technologies for next-generation communications has been selected by Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) under their Beyond 5G (6G) Fund for Innovative Information and Communications Technology FY2023 Social Implementation and Overseas Development-oriented Strategic Program. As part of this funded project, from November 2023 Rakuten Mobile has started research and development on the advancement of edge platform functions for the next communication standard after 5G – "Beyond 5G."

Through this project, the company aims to provide stable services in the edge cloud by enhancing edge platform functions in response to the growing communication volume demanded by the Beyond 5G era.

The edge cloud has expanded to thousands of locations as communication areas have expanded throughout Japan, making centralized management of huge amounts of data in central data centers a challenge. In addition, edge data centers have limited physical space and cannot deploy ample resources for applications, so they need to be better coordinated with central data centers.

In this R&D project, Rakuten Mobile will work on enhancing coordination between edge data centers and central data centers, improving processing capacity in edge platforms, and developing technology for the integrated operation of containers*¹ and virtual machines. The company will also demonstrate the effectiveness of its technology in its own network by reducing latency and enhancing the performance of platforms for future multi-access edge computing use cases, in anticipation of Beyond 5G. Furthermore, by incorporating these technologies into the Symworld™*² platform – a product deployed globally through Rakuten Mobile’s subsidiary, Rakuten Symphony, Inc., – telecom operators and enterprise businesses around the world will have access to these technologies.

Research and development project overview

1) Enhancements to edge data fabric*3
Improve operational efficiency through flexible resource allocation while meeting high-performance requirements of the edge, by linking an edge data center with limited physical space and server resources with a central data center with high resource flexibility.

 2) Edge platform optimization
Develop a lightweight edge platform optimized for the edge and improve the processing capacity per unit resource such as CPU and memory, thereby increasing the resources that can be allocated to the application for efficient operations. In addition, aim to ensure high reliability within the scope of limited spare resources by expanding monitoring functionality and enabling faster impact identification and recovery.

3) Research and development of integrated operation technology for virtualization infrastructure
In the transition period when a wide variety of applications running on virtualization infrastructure are shifting from virtual machines to containers, improve operational quality and cost efficiency by enabling integrated operations of containers and virtual machines on the same infrastructure.

Duration of research and development project
November 2023 - November 2027 (planned)

Through this research and development project, Rakuten Mobile aims to provide stable services in the edge cloud and contribute to the development of communication technology necessary for improving Japan's international competitiveness and the realization of new services in the Beyond 5G era.

*1 Container technology is a technology that realizes a virtual operating environment with less computer resources by building an application execution environment isolated from other processes on the OS (operating system).
*2 Symworld™ is a next-generation telecom operating platform provided by Rakuten Symphony. For more information visit https://symphony.rakuten.com/automation/a-single-platform. Symworld is a trademark of Rakuten Group, Inc. or its subsidiaries in Singapore and other countries and regions.
*3 Data fabric is an architecture and technology that provides a method for accessing data by connecting multiple locations, data types and data sources.

*Product names and service names published in this press release are generally trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies. Trademarks such as TM and ® may be omitted when trademarks are listed in this press release.

*Please note that the information contained in press releases is current as of the date of release.

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