Why Edge Computing Is Crucial to Future 5G Networks

May 8, 2020

What Is Edge Computing in IoT?

When a large amount of data is gathered from networked devices, it is often sent directly to centralized databases or servers and processed, potentially resulting in information being transmitted back to the devices. This process introduces latency, crowds bandwidth and potentially compromises security. Edge computing streamlines the flow of information to and from Internet of Things (IoT) devices by processing data closer to the source, at the “edge” of the network, where analytics can be performed locally in real time without added strain on core systems or on the networks that link the devices to them.

A dark world map with continent labels overlaid with a connected network of dots.

Utilizing edge processing, companies can reduce traffic to centralized systems. It can also reduce or eliminate latency in critical operations, such as manufacturing or healthcare, in which every millisecond counts.  Edge computing also adds resiliency to continue operations if the network is not available. Lastly, it improves the security of many applications enabling specific sensitive data to be processed “on-site” without needing to be transmitted to a centralized system.  In the era of GDPR and increasing focus on protecting personal information, this is extremely important. Since it promises data speeds up to ten times faster than 4G, the introduction of 5G will help to simplify edge computing — and may drive additional demand as new business models are enabled.

What Is the Role of Edge Computing in 5G Networks?

With projected enhanced reliability, significantly reduced latency and bandwidth capacities in the gigabits, 5G networks will allow better real-time connections between edge devices and cloud-based servers. “Around 10 percent of enterprise-generated data is created and processed outside a traditional centralized data center or cloud,” according to a recent report. “By 2025, Gartner predicts this figure will reach 75 percent.”

The rollout of 5G is still in its very early stages. Meanwhile, mobile and IoT technology are expanding at an ever-increasing rate, with an estimated 5.8 billion enterprise and automotive endpoints in use in 2020, according to Gartner. Autonomous vehicles, streaming video and IoT devices will generate vast amounts of data. Given this escalation of data requirements, edge computing will remain a necessary stage in the transition to full 5G. Indeed, the two are developing in tandem. The global edge computing market is expected to reach $16.55 billion by 2025, according to a recent report.

Unlocking the Potential of Edge Processing

Edge processing is not only a necessary part of the transition to higher speeds and greater bandwidth but also essential for companies to maintain a competitive edge and keep their customers’ and employees’ data secure. As 5G revolutionizes every sector and enables more and more networked devices to come online, edge solutions provide a platform that enables stable and reliable growth. Companies like Dell and Lenovo have built specialized edge servers for this purpose. Ubuntu’s Open Compute Project incorporates software designs with routers designed for edge processing tasks. On the user end, Intel and Qualcomm have designed circuitry to handle edge processing in autonomous vehicles and IoT devices.

Intelligent investment in edge infrastructure (fog, private LTE, private 5G) is needed to build progressively faster, more extensive mobile and IoT networks from the existing LTE structure on the way to 5G speeds and capacities. Edge processing can translate data to secure protocols before it is sent to the cloud. It can reduce bandwidth requirements between the cloud and edge devices, effectively eliminate latency issues, provide real-time analytics and smooth the long, uneven transition to full 5G. What may seem like an additional layer of complexity provides needed security and availability for emerging IoT networks.

Telit has two offerings that tackle these complex issues. First, Telit’s OneEdge™ technology is designed with this use case in mind. The module-embedded functionality pushes the burden of integrating new components to the edge, improving security, streamlining processes and shortening the path to market for new IoT applications. Learn more and request a consultation for your enterprise here. Second, Telit’s deviceWISE® for Factory IoT gateway is an award-winning agent technology that enables rapid integration between industrial assets (such as programmable logic controllers (PLCs), CNC machines and SCADA systems) and the cloud systems on which enterprises rely. More information on the deviceWISE for Factory products is available here.

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