From smart watches and thermostats to IoT-enabled industrial machines and systems, IoT is becoming more of a staple in our everyday lives. Despite all their capabilities, enterprises are hitting a wall in supporting and managing IoT devices due to limitations with cloud-based storage centers.
The next-generation 5G and edge computing address many of the challenges with cloud-based data storage, allowing IoT devices to reach their full potential and manage massive amounts of data.
Benefits of 5G
The next generation of broadband cellular networks, 5G is a technology that expands on the capabilities of 4G for consumers and businesses alike.
5G can transmit data over multiple spectrums to maximize range and performance. Current cell technology uses only the low band, which maximizes signals over long distances. This takes a lot of bandwidth and leads to network congestion that limits performance.
By using both the high and low bands, 5G can deliver high volumes of data over a long range and with better performance. The range and bandwidth are optimized, so more devices can be used simultaneously without excessive network traffic and diminished performance.
Benefits of Edge Computing
Cloud-based storage centers keep data in a centralized hub for processing and analytics. The data is compiled at the network’s edge, near the device. When it needs to be processed, data must be sent to the central core, then the response is sent back to the device. Over long distances like these, the transit can create latency that impacts the value of real-time data in the decision-making process.
Edge computing can solve this problem by keeping the data processing close to the data source, the IoT device. Data is collected at the network’s edge, same as it is now, but doesn’t need to travel to the central hub for processing and analytics. The result is faster processing and insights for reduced latency and lower network congestion.
Networks with edge computing are also more resilient. Because the data can be processed using edge data centers near the devices, these data centers aren’t impacted by breaches or disasters that take down other parts of the network.
Leveraging the Power of 5G and Edge Computing
5G and edge computing have powerful capabilities for addressing the current challenges of IoT networks. While they have many benefits on their own, when combined, they can fill each other’s gaps to improve performance, distance, and speed to fuel digital transformation.
IoT devices with optimal connectivity can transmit data at shocking speeds, and some devices are capable of self-processing data locally without it ever leaving the device itself. Edge computing with 5G ensures long-distance data transmission with better connectivity for efficient IoT data processing.
As the 5G coverage and enabled devices improve, IoT devices and edge data processing centers can adopt 5G to create powerful data analytics capabilities that occur close to the end user. 5G networks and IoT devices can be interconnected to provide fast real-time solutions to problems.
Examples of 5G and Edge Computing Applications
Edge computing with 5G has numerous potential applications, including:
- Mobile networks: As a cellular technology, one of the biggest potential applications for 5G with edge computing is mobile broadband service. Already enabled with 4G, 5G can build upon the existing technology to improve broadband speed and use multiple spectrums for better performance and reduced network traffic.
- VR/AR: Whether for gaming uses or practical applications like training for telesurgery, VR/AR applications are among 5G and edge computing’s most impressive opportunities. Both technologies will be necessary for enhanced image rendering and real-time network speed for an immersive experience.
- Autonomous and smart cars: Autonomous cars are just one aspect of a future with vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-infrastructure, and vehicle-to-network communications. These communications will need to take place quickly and can’t afford the lag of data transmission to the data center, so 5G with edge computing is necessary for the smart cars of the future.
- Drones: Like autonomous vehicles, drones require real-time decision-making capabilities and enhanced image processing, communication with devices, and aerial navigation powered by edge computing with 5G.
- Medical technology: Smart developments are disrupting the medical industry. Medica robotics offer incredible opportunities for telemedicine, telesurgery, enhanced training, and more. 5G and edge computing address challenges like delay, jitter, and latency, ensuring near-real-time video transmission for operating and performing medical procedures remotely.
- Gaming: In addition to VR/AR for gaming, edge computing with 5G can improve the gaming experience for users. Currently, processing for gameplay is performance locally with data transmission to central data hubs, impacting the gaming experience. These technologies keep the data processing and analytics close to the source, reducing the overall time, costs, and processing power necessary for gaming.
The Future is 5G Edge Computing
The demand for IoT applications like VR/AR, telemedicine, and smart cars is only increasing, so enterprises need to find solutions to upgrade networks and make the most of 5G and edge computing. Combined, these technologies can create dynamic, responsive, and efficient networks that support IoT ecosystems for improved customer experience.
Jason Khoo is the Head of SEM at SolidRun which is a global leading developer of embedded systems and network solutions, focused on a wide range of energy-efficient, powerful and flexible products which help OEMs around the world simplify application development while overcoming deployment challenges.