As the demand for seamless user experiences continues to skyrocket, digital resource providers attempt to satisfy modern consumer needs with edge networking.
Starting in the 1990s, content delivery networks (CDN) were the first instance of traditional data centers extending to regional and local servers for faster delivery of digital content. A handful of communication and distributed systems emerged in the 30 years since, including peer-to-peer, cloud, and fog computing to support remote digital requests.
Only within the last five years has edge networking become an essential piece of IT infrastructure. As more IoT and consumer devices flood networks, IDC predicts 50% of infrastructure deployments will be at the network edge by 2023, and the global market will balloon to $800 billion by 2028.
This article looks at edge networking, the difference between the network core and network edge, and the benefits of network edge computing.
What Is Edge Networking?
If edge computing is the adoption of distributed, physical servers that put data processing closer to end users, then edge networking is the provisioning of network core and edge segments to optimize the delivery of digital resources. Edge networking is the administration and configuration management of distributed, remote elements hosted by a network core and connecting to end users.
Read more on TechRepublic: Will edge computing become the new cloud in 2021?
Edge Networking Features
- Flexible application deployment with minimal to no downtime
- Enriched analytics for data processing and traffic
- Robust API support for integration of local and remote services
- Support for an array of heterogeneous IoT devices
- Digital twin synchronization and support between device, edge, and cloud
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Network Edge vs Network Core
With virtualization and cloud workloads, edge computing presents another differentiated network segment among expanding IT infrastructure options.
Network Core: Headquarters and Data Centers
Today, network cores are central to distributed organizations and include the foundational IT components that connect administrators, personnel, clients, and consumers.
On the back end, this means implementing data center capabilities with racks, switches, and routers that serve other segments and LANs from the network core. As the backbone of the distributed organization, core networks manage service invocation, gateways, authentication, aggregation, load balancing, and more.
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Network Edge: Wiring Closets and WiFi Access Points
Network edges are subnetworks positioned closer to end users and directly connected to the network core. Examples of network edge devices include WiFi access points, branch offices with wiring closet switches, and individual computers.
Edge network machinery facilitates caching, service discovery, storage, and device management to enhance user experience while reducing latency and bottlenecks.
Read more on eWEEK: Edge Data Fabric: What It Is, Why It Matters
Benefits of Network Edge Computing
The most significant benefit of edge networks is improved speed and latency. Modern users demand fast connectivity from web-serving organizations and milliseconds make a difference. Data processing at the network edge reduces latency and traffic loads flowing to the network core.
Building and utilizing edge networks provides cost savings with faster content delivery, more control of network traffic, and reduced bandwidth utilization. Though planning, implementation, and maintenance can be costly, edge networks help offload other costly burdens from the network core and improve server optimization.
Edge networks present risks with their countless entry points, but they also provide a layer of security to the network core. As less traffic travels over shorter distances, threat actors cannot access sensitive information upon a single breach. With a less defined network perimeter, zero trust principles like strict access control are essential.
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The proliferation of edge networks will create a global spiderweb of micro data centers providing more connectivity and bandwidth to remote regions. When edge networks can process and store data locally, this also preserves connectivity — even with slight disruptions to the network core or cloud source.
Edge networks typically aren’t built from scratch. Plenty of telecommunications and enterprise organizations already have the distributed physical presence to deploy edge-specific servers or provision existing devices. Once in place, edge servers provide a distributed framework that organizations can reuse, lease, and develop for further growth.
A Future of IoT Devices Requires Edge Networking
Advancing connectivity means consumers and organizations alike will continue to find uses for IoT devices. From smartphones to critical industrial machines, Gartner predicts IoT devices will jump from 8 billion in 2020 to more than 15 billion devices by 2029.
Edge networking is essential to control this influx. In an efficient and scalable manner, edge computing networks offer end users faster and more reliable digital services. For organizations, managing content delivery needs with existing infrastructure isn’t sustainable. The oncoming wave of IoT devices will require new enterprise infrastructure deployment and administrative management that balances the core-edge relationship.
Read more on Datamation: The Future of Edge Computing: Beyond IoT