5G Infrastructure and Need for Low Latency Paves the Way for Edge Computing

By Sharad Singh

In an era when we get a new update every hour, the networking industry is on the edge of its seat for innovative technologies and network architectures: edge computing. This is the generation of 5G, where mobile communication is not just experiencing man-to-man communication, but also man-to-machine communication and machine-to-machine communication. What’s more, the demand for artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT), and driverless cars have skyrocketed over the last decade. Thus, shot up the network requirements such as high bandwidth, low latency, and fast computing and came edge computing to the rescue!

What is edge computing?

The term edge computing has been flying around for a while now, but what is edge computing? This network architecture brings data processing closer to application and other data sources. Since it brings the computing closer, we call it edge. Although edge computing is not new, the surge in a number of IoT devices in the network has put edge computing on the spotlight as it reduces costs and improves response time.

The edge computing offers attractive features by bringing compute and storage data near enterprise branches for those who need instant support for large data amounts and quick response time. Moreover, edge computing brings several benefits to enterprise networks with its lights-out operations, centralized management, and cloud-style infrastructure. The centralized management enables computing to maintain networks evenly, whereas the cloud-style infrastructure helps IT teams to provide deliver local services and manage local resources accordingly.

Edge computing has limitless opportunities in IoT, where edge devices collect a massive amount of data and forward it to the cloud or a data center for processing. Moreover, edge computing triages the data locally, which minimizes backhaul traffic to the central repository. Most of the times, the data is processed at the edge and portion of it is sent to central processing in the corporate data center or Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) cloud.

Why does it matter so much?

Edge computing deployments are perfect for those devices that have poor connectivity and when it is not convenient for IoT devices to be constantly connected to a central cloud. As mentioned above, edge computing reduces latency. Thus, it is a complete bliss for those situations where latency of millisecond can be untenable, such as in financial services.

The most important use of edge computing has been the buildout of next-generation 5G cellular networks. The telecommunications services providers develop 5G into its wireless networks as they constantly add micro-data centers that are integrated into or located near 5G towers. Business customers could own or rent a space in these micro-data centers to perform the edge computing and could possess direct access to the broader network of the telecom provider.

Emerging trends in edge computing

  1. 5G network to grow

The prime reason behind the exponential growth of edge computing is the limitations of cloud computing such as bandwidth, latency, and regulatory data restrictions. Although cloud computing offers affordable commute and storage, it has faced challenges to overcome the limitations of the network. On the other hand, the 5G could address some of the network limitations as it can enable flexibility in using the cloud to store the latency-prone applications and offer new opportunities for edge computing by improving bandwidth speed and cost.

  • Data centers to shrink

If you are awed by the computing power packed into cell phones, think about what could miniaturization would do to the micro data centers. In the future, IT servers would become one-third of the size of the normal servers. The conventional 19-inch enclosure may not be the standard form factor for housing micro data center. After the advent of edge data centers, the micro data centers have gained attention as a core infrastructure for supporting edge computing solutions. What’s more, micro data centers have dramatically simplified technology deployments and offered the ability to remotely monitor these systems, eliminating the need for IT staff on site. Now, employees need to just plug in the system and turn on the start button to activate the entire process.

  • Emergence of autonomous edge

Autonomous has become mainstream, penetrating every industry vertical and it has made its way in computing. The next big thing would be the emergence of autonomous edge for automotive, healthcare, manufacturing, as well as retail. When these industries no longer can afford the losses caused by latency for detailed analysis, the autonomous edge would offer a smarter, self-efficient alternative to local storage. Apart from this, the upgrade of autonomous edge would disrupt the driverless technology, where instantaneous and life-saving decisions must be made in real-time.

To sum this all

The increasing load on the cloud infrastructure, need for assistance for real-time applications, and a surge in number of intelligent applications have boosted the growth of the edge computing industry. According to Allied Market Research, the global edge computing market is projected to reach $16.56 billion by 2025, registering a colossal CAGR of32.8% from 2018 to 2025. The advent of the 5G network, a variety of frameworks and languages for IoT solutions, and need to reduce latency is expected to propel the market growth in the near future.