Understanding edge computing: The benefits of mobile edge computing and 5G
Combining the high speed and low latency of 5G with the processing power of edge computing could push IoT—and your mobile experience—forward.
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Mobile gamers and industrial manufacturers using industrial Internet of Things (iIoT) systems all have one thing in common: They need data transferred and processed as quickly as possible. For both of those groups, milliseconds matter.
For a mobile gamer, extra milliseconds of data transfer and processing time can mean losing to an otherwise evenly matched opponent who has a better connection. For manufacturers and IoT situations, milliseconds can make the difference between effective quality control at speed and a shutdown that slows production while adjustments are made.
In these situations, it’s helpful to make data transfer and processing as fast as possible. That means high-speed, reliable connections with low latency. And it’s in that last area in particular that edge computing shines.
What is edge computing? It’s a system that brings computing resources—servers or other hardware—to the edge of the network, closer to where data is captured. This reduces the distance that the data needs to travel for processing, which cuts response times over typical cloud-computing setups where data might travel to a distant server-filled data center for processing.
Understanding edge computing: How it works
Put another way, edge computing moves the data-processing capabilities of the cloud closer to where data is generated and ultimately used for decision-making. When thinking of typical cloud computing versus edge computing, the difference is all about location. Moving a virtual-data-center capability close to the edge of the network produces the kind of high-speed, low-latency performance that can enable all kinds of new use cases.
These use cases are definitely growing. According to research firm Gartner, in 2018 only 10% of data was processed via edge computing; the researchers predict that number will soar to 75% by 2025. And rapid deployment of IoT projects is driving this growth.
A lot of terms get used when talking about edge computing architecture. Mobile edge computing was most common when development was first focused on mobile networks and phones; the terminology shifted to multi-access edge computing (MEC) as it became clear that there were many industrial and manufacturing use cases for edge computing. Think of edge computing as an umbrella term for the overall concept and MEC as a form of edge computing technology; it provides the computing that enhances the functionality and capabilities of networks, including 5G, so that developers can create apps and processes that support all those new uses.
5G and edge computing: Innovations and applications
5G can offer high speed, high capacity and low latency. Edge computing technology helps to take its performance to new levels. And this reliable, high-speed connectivity and data processing is leading to new technological advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning, analytics and more.
For example, Verizon 5G Edge Accelerated Access uses Verizon 5G Edge and facial recognition technology to create an opt-in facial recognition solution that makes crowd management easier. With Accelerated Access, you’re able to use your face as your ticket at concert venues, sporting events and more. You opt in, upload a photo and connect it to your ticket information while you’re at home. At the event, facial recognition sensors can then make for a seamless experience at the gate and other areas of the venue.
In industrial applications, edge computing technology might be part of a private 5G network—basically a dedicated 5G network that’s specific to the facility or business. The speed and connectivity of that network, combined with edge computing benefits, can allow for automated guided vehicle management, near real-time analytics, and increased efficiency throughout the workstream.
The future of edge computing
Future 5G edge computing applications are only limited by our imaginations, and could impact everything from home security systems and gaming to agriculture, transportation and health care. The infrastructure that makes 5G edge computing possible also makes it possible to develop, deploy and scale ultra-low-latency applications that make a difference for consumers and businesses anytime that milliseconds matter.
1. Based on most first place rankings in RootMetrics® 2H 2022 assessments of 125 metros. Experiences may vary. Not an endorsement. Tested with best commercially available smartphones on three national mobile networks across all available network types. Your experiences may vary. RootMetrics rankings are not an endorsement of Verizon.