What Is Edge Computing and How Does it Work?

Deyan Georgiev
Deyan Georgiev

Updated · Sep 28, 2022

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The Internet today is much more than a place to search for information. Data has become the lifeblood of users and businesses alike, and new technologies have emerged to improve the ways we collect and use it.

So, what is edge computing, and why does it matter so much in today’s interconnected world that’s “invaded” by Internet of Things devices

What Is Edge Computing?

Edge computing brings data closer to the places we generate it. It delivers faster insights, improved response times, and better bandwidth availability. Having data closer to where we need it, we can process and analyze it much faster. 

Distributed Edge computing effectively resolves many problems with data traveling. The serverless architecture of this technology successfully tackles issues with bandwidth limits and network disruptions. 

The main goal of edge computing is to bring the data center as close as possible to the data source.

How Does it Work?

By definition, edge computing means decentralizing data centers. It involves increased usage of local processing, sensors, and devices that can handle large portions of the workload.

Take, for example, retail businesses that use video cameras to monitor their facilities. Instead of sending the footage to a remote data center, they can feed it into an edge device and process it on their premises. This way, they can reduce latency and ensure better security.

Examples of Edge Computing

Autonomous cars

Edge computing technology is the key to autonomous vehicles. 

It can process the data gathered by sensors and cameras, analyze it in just a few milliseconds, and make accurate decisions at the source of the data generation. Fast decision-making is of crucial importance to avoiding traffic accidents.

Healthcare

Healthcare is one of the industries that benefit most from edge computing devices

Usually, monitoring machines are disconnected or lack the capacity to process data efficiently. This leaves large amounts of unprocessed information on third-party cloud storages, which raises security concerns. 

Hospitals can solve this issue by setting up edge device on-site. By doing so, they can process data locally to maintain security and monitor unusual patient trends and behavior patterns.

Industrial Automation

Industrial edge computing allows businesses to improve automation. 

It minimizes latency on computation and eliminates the need to send data over a network connection to process it. Edge computing services reduce costs and strengthen security while improving data quality and processing speed. 

Smart Homes

Over the last few years, home automation has become a thing for many households – from Smart TV devices to voice assistants that can turn the lights on or off. Edge computing technology has enabled people to access their home appliances remotely, saving time and increasing comfort.

Low-Latency Gaming

It’s not a coincidence that the $150 billion-dollar cloud industry would also affect gaming. 

Cloud gaming allows users to access and run games on remote servers instead of using their own devices. However, with a centralized cloud, high latency may arise. With edge computing, gamers are closer to the server and enjoy a smoother experience.

Smart Cities

Edge computing solutions bring many benefits to urban areas. 

By utilizing the latest tech, municipalities can reduce pollution and improve the quality of life of their citizens. Edge technology can monitor data in real-time and optimize traffic, reducing emissions. It can also provide valuable insights into peak times and better surveillance data to improve security.

Tailor-made Content Delivery

Content distributed networks drastically improve user experience. 

Website and mobile visitors can benefit from geographically-based metrics. Businesses are able to offer customized solutions to their clients from different regions. On the other hand, customers can enjoy faster page load speeds and better access to goods.

Pros and Cons

So, is edge computing a magical solution or a flawed technology? As with every other piece of technology, it brings many new things to the table. Yet, it also has its disadvantages. 

Pros:

Edge computing services are very sought after today – they’re the “technology of the future” and receive extra attention. But do they live up to our expectations? Let’s see.

  • High speed - probably the biggest advantage is the significantly reduced latency, which is the aftermath of CDNs. Since the source of information is closer to the server, data travels faster.
  • Scalability - rather than focusing on expensive primary data centers and core networks, companies can scale much faster with the help of edge technology. 
  • Reliability - edge computing comes in handy for IoT solutions since it provides uninterrupted service even without an Internet connection.

Cons:

However, edge computing systems aren’t flawless.

  • Data storage capacity issues - while it’s a great way to collect data, edge hardware often relies on a bigger capacity to operate properly. Data limitations are a ticking time bomb.
  • Infrastructure costs - using an edge infrastructure can be complicated and costly. Its complexity requires additional equipment and resources.
  • Maintenance - such a distributed system requires higher maintenance than traditional infrastructure. As a result, it’s more expensive and difficult to support.

Edge Computing, IoT, and 5G

Internet of Things (IoT) devices produce a lot of data. However, data itself isn’t useful unless there’s a way to process and analyze it. There are two reasons why edge computing is necessary: first, internet capacity is finite; second, user experience matters. 

The ability of IoT devices to handle data in real-time is becoming increasingly valuable. More and more businesses make use of the technology. With the rapid growth of IoT, there's a major need for companies to analyze data on the fly.

5G and edge computing are two technologies that better our lives by improving application performance and network gateways. They also increase the speed of data processing. These two technologies are interconnected, and both make us think about the digital future in new ways.

Edge computer systems allow for smoother 5G adoption and a good transition towards the next big thing – 6G. 

Wrap Up

Edge Computing will shape the world in the decades to come. It’ll enable us to achieve things that have been impossible before. By using edge computing hardware, our society will experience a massive transformation. Many industries will be entirely reformed, and we’ll finally embrace technologies that drive environmental sustainability. 

And the best of all? 

The future is already present.

FAQ.


Is a smartphone an edge device?

A smartphone isn’t an edge device. However, it has the capabilities to become one.

Who is the leader in edge computing?

For many, it doesn’t come as a surprise who occupies the first place. What is edge computing without AWS Edge? That’s right – Amazon is the biggest edge and cloud supplier globally.

Is Edge computing cheap?

It’s a very tricky question. While it can save scaling companies tons of money, the initial investment is huge. 

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Deyan Georgiev

Deyan Georgiev

Deyan has been fascinated by technology his whole life. From the first Tetris game all the way to Falcon Heavy. Working for TechJury is like a dream come true, combining both his passions – writing and technology. In his free time (which is pretty scarce, thanks to his three kids), Deyan enjoys traveling and exploring new places. Always with a few chargers and a couple of gadgets in the backpack. He makes mean dizzying Island Paradise cocktails too.

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