What is Edge Computing in the 5G Era?


Over the next few years, you’re likely to hear a lot about Edge Computing. We live in a society where millions of devices around the world are connected to each other. This flow of information must be as efficient and rapid as possible, minimizing the delay or delay between when an order is given and when it is executed. So what is edge computing technology and how does it relate to 5G connectivity? Let’s take a closer look.

Let’s get right to the point: What is Edge Computing?

Today, IoT is ubiquitous. From the most prosaic, such as being able to watch movies on demand in high definition, to the more complex, such as being able to operate on a patient without a doctor present. This communication should be done as quickly and efficiently as possible. In the former case, the negative effects of delay are not dangerous, in remote surgery millimeter precision is required.

The arrival of 5G has significantly reduced the latency of devices connecting to each other, but this network alone is not enough to meet today’s needs. This is where Edge Computing technology comes in: bringing data processing to where the data is.

Edge Computing vs. Cloud Computing

Before we dive into the subject, it is important to understand what Cloud Computing is. Today, millions of devices generate massive amounts of data that can be analyzed through the cloud. In other words, the data “travels” from our computer to an external server, located thousands of kilometers away in a data center.

To illustrate this with a practical example, you connect to the internet from your mobile phone and go to a specific website. A request to access the page is sent to your phone’s operator, which forwards it to the target server. This server processes the data, responds and sends it back to you so that you can access the site without any problem. In addition, the “cloud” is used not only to process data, but also to store it and run applications and services. This whole process is being influenced by new technologies like Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence. As a Microsoft In a press release, IDC predicts that there will be more than 41.6 billion connected IoT devices by 2025. The result is a large amount of data and a lot of bandwidth consumption.

Edge Computing: Practical Applications

Edge computing aims to get data as close as possible to the devices that generate it. This not only frees up bandwidth but also reduces the response delay between the device and the server. In some cases, such as automated cars or health and industrial robotics, this response must be as fast as possible.

In terms of connected cars, edge computing is proving to be a useless technology. Cars are increasingly loaded with cameras and sensors that monitor traffic and the driver’s visual environment. Thanks to this environmental analysis, the driver can receive live traffic information and anticipate various events.

In this regard, it is estimated that an autonomous car can generate more than 300 TB of data per year. Sending all this information to a server far away from where it is processed is inefficient. The operation should be carried out as close as possible, in this case, by an autonomous car. Delay in road safety is obvious: every incident must be reported instantly, immediately and without delay.

This is undoubtedly the biggest advantage of Edge Computing. This technology means that the data is processed wherever the user makes the request (they don’t have to go to the server from Spain to San Francisco, for example), making the whole process more efficient and faster.

Edge computing can also be very useful in controlling the quality of a company’s products through machine learning models. In the case of the cloud, data collected by sensors on the assembly line that determine whether or not the product meets quality standards must travel to the server and be analyzed and sent back. By bringing this process to the production edge, sensors are more efficient: they only need to send information about a product if there is a suspicion that it is not well made.

In conclusion, Edge Computing is a technology driven by the advent of 5G, a technology with many applications (quality control, road safety, video games and healthcare areas) that require investment in network infrastructure and data analysis tools.

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