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The Role of Edge Computing in 5G Technology
By Jaheer Abbas, Senior Director Se Asia & India, Limelight Networks
The Rise of Edge Computing in Action The plethora of connected devices incorporating IoT sensors generate vast amounts of data but finding business or operational value in that data is extremely challenging and requires a great deal of analysis. This is further compounded by the need for real-time experiences which requires minimal delay between data receipt and processing, making edge computing all the more vital. Edge computing makes it possible to quickly processes data from sensors to filter and analyse it in real time. It can then send out alerts for things that require immediate attention, filter out the “junk” data to reduce the amount of bandwidth used and data that needs to be stored, or identify patterns quickly, allowing faster response to issues. As internet-connected devices continually acquire data, the data centre at the edge performs these functions and all of the data is sent to the central processing or storage repository in the data centre. The edge compute platforms can then perform immediate analysis, and ensure actions take place in time to impact change. This will be a critical scale component to the adoption of 5G, and the answer to transitional needs for performance-sensitive, IoT devices. Edge Computing for 5G With the rise of autonomous vehicles, smart homes, and numerous other high-bandwidth digital experiences, speed is of the essence. Current 4G networks are not able to match up to the rate at which new connected devices are being added to the ecosystem, but 5G will not be able to meet the performance needs of low latency without edge computing. The implementation of 5G is still in its infancy, having been deployed in only a few highly markets globally. Nonetheless, edge computing has proven that it has a key role to play in enhancing the value of 5G networks, by providing a means to process, filter, and even protect data locally. The enhanced value of the edge computing and 5G combination includes reduced costs of cloud storage and processing, the ability to run more applications at the edge, and the ability to remotely control and manage edge assets. Towards Sub-Second Response and Improved Customer Experiences Edge computing offers a powerful new solution for applications that demand sub-second response times. By putting the compute power at the edge of the network, network operators can dramatically reduce latency and significantly improve users’ digital experiences. To increase efficiency, reduce unplanned downtime, improve customer experiences, and drive innovation, network operators need a new architecture that has the local capacity to securely and reliably ingest all of this data, no matter where it is being generated or consumed. On the other hand, the biggest benefit for consumers would be a noticeable increase in the response of the network, due to the reduction in latency. This could very well change the game for digital-first businesses that rely on high-speed content delivery. By turning to the right edge cloud services, network operators can easily leverage the benefits of a high-performance edge compute solutions and focus on developing their 5G solutions rather than building out a network.