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Connectivity for Edge Networks

Edge computing is here and this is why you should care

5G outdoor access point set up on a farmland.

Edge computing might sound like something from the future but it’s been around for a while now, and it’s only going to get bigger. Research firm Gartner has predicted that by 2025, more than 70% of data generated by enterprises will be processed outside of traditional, centralized data centers (such as cloud computing) — and this is where the edge computing model comes in. It’s no wonder that the IDC has reported that global spending on edge infrastructure and edge computing solutions is expected to top $176 billion in 2022, an increase of 14.8% over 2021.

What is edge computing?

Edge computing is a type of network architecture that puts the capabilities of centralized data servers closer to the user, functionality like data storage or processing.

So, instead of sending raw data from the edge (where the user, or device, is accessing the internet — or any network) all the way back to a centralized server (referred to as backhauling), it can be processed a lot closer, reducing the amount of time it takes for the user, or device, to get a response. This is referred to as low latency, and for some applications and technologies, such as self-driving cars, and video surveillance it’s an absolute must.

Edge computing is:

  • A decentralized network, storage, and compute architecture (or ecosystem)
  • Edge nodes (connected network hardware) are positioned closer to the user or mobile device
  • Edge nodes can include cloudlets (small scale data servers), micro data centers, routers and gateways
  • A system designed to bring more computing power to where end users (or IoT devices) are located instead of requiring data to always flow to a central data server
  • It’s growth is linked to the increase of resource-intensive applications, as well as the widespread adoption and initiatives around 5G networks and the Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Sometimes described as fog computing, or bringing the cloud to the ground
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Solving the shortfalls of edge computing

Inseego has been an industry leader in decentralized networks for many years, and has addressed some of the downsides of edge computing, notably the security concerns and building in redundancy for situations where an edge node fails.

It also addresses the growing problem system administrators are facing, dealing with an increasing number of devices to manage, particularly on the edge of the network.

Security — Edge computing devices are at risk of being hacked, allowing private data to be accessed, or corporate operations sabotaged. In part, this is due to the sheer number of edge devices and the difficulty managing them, including making sure software updates are deployed and devices no longer in use are removed from the network. Inseego Connect helps by giving IT administrators a single screen view of all devices that can be managed from anywhere, including installing updates or disabling a rogue device.

Redundancy — While it’s great to be able to delegate the workloads of a centralized data center to edge nodes for processing, it does create potential points of failure that need to be planned for. With SD-WAN, you have a lot of network orchestration options to develop failover rules, should an edge node fail, increasing overall resiliency. This can include alternative options for storing data and handover to a nearby node.

Edge device management — The massive growth in the number of connected devices can make management a challenge. Juniper Research reported that in 2020 there were 35 billion connected devices, and this will grow to 84 billion by 2024, with industrial IoT accounting for around 60 billion of those devices. Managing these devices will become increasingly important for both end of life management, and security risk mitigation. Products like Inseego Connect allow sys admins to manage all their devices from a single account remotely.

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What are the benefits of edge computing?

While some industries are already well along in applying the benefits of edge computing, other types of businesses are only now coming on board, since it required the maturing of related technologies such as 5G networks and SD-WAN.

Now more mainstream information-based businesses are able to start benefiting from edge computing.

Benefits of edge computing include:

  • Better (lower) latency and faster network speeds for improved artificial intelligence, more intensive algorithms and advanced machine learning
  • Improved data privacy by processing it on-premises, instead of the public cloud
  • Lower bandwidth costs by reducing the volume of data backhauled to centralized cloud providers such as Amazon AWS or Microsoft Azure cloud services
  • Greater network reliability at the edge, unaffected by outages upstream
  • Faster scalability with easier provisioning of smaller edge servers, micro data centers, and node devices, positioned at edge locations

It might seem like a lot of work to move your business from a traditional data center setup. The good news is that you can evolve your business over time to benefit from edge computing, and enlist the help of experts in this to partner with you as you make the journey.

Edge computing — Next steps

Enterprises are quickly seeing the benefits of edge computing and trying to figure out how they can make the transition to a more decentralized network. The key is to identify what pieces of edge computing apply to your industry and how best to use them, while minimizing any potential downsides.

We recommend discussing your situation with an Inseego network consultant to see what’s possible. Take the first step by contacting Inseego and take advantage of edge computing in your business today.

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