Why 5G Edge Computing Doesn't Exist Without Network Infrastructure Aggregation

By Dennis Chan
December 1, 2020

Have you ever given up loading a website or watching a movie because it just wouldn’t load? You’re not alone… Network performance, scalability at speed for IT environments and infrastructure, capability to reach out to users and offer faster, reliable services, are just some of the major pain points a lot of enterprises as well as over the top (OTT) providers still suffer in 2020 and cause havoc when it comes to user experience.

All these challenges have one thing in common, or should I say, one common cause of the problem. That is the exponential growth of internet usage and production of data. It is all about data. Data generated by gaming platforms, virtual reality (VR) environments, financial trading systems, internet of things (IoT) applications, vehicle telemetry, remote surgeries, the list goes on to an endless number of use cases, some of which we can’t even think about today.

IDC predicts that the global datasphere will grow from 33 Zettabytes (ZB) in 2018 to 175 ZB by 2025.

To keep up with the storage demands stemming from all this data creation, IDC forecasts that over 22 ZB of storage capacity must ship across all media types from 2018 to 2025, with nearly 59% of that capacity supplied from the HDD industry.

As this grows, so grows the dependence of all of us on networks. With some of these applications being time critical – such as driverless cars, financial trading and remote surgery – several enterprises experience some rocky service provisioning. But what if there is a solution?

First, there is. Secondly, it is becoming widely available week by week. I am talking about the emergence of data centres at the edge, or as it is usually referred to, edge computing.

Edge computing holds the promise – and it is delivering that same promise right now – of bringing computer power closer to the data source: the user. Edge refers to enterprise-hardened servers and appliances that are not in core data centres. This includes server rooms, servers in the field, cell towers, and smaller data centres located regionally and remotely for faster response times.

Ultimately, those 175 ZB of data will only become a worthy business asset when enterprises and OTTs make sense of the data, and that is where edge computing is proving to be as crucial as mainframes were in the 1950s. Edge will potentially be an even bigger revolution and by 2025, 75% of enterprise data will be processed at the edge, compared to only 10% today, says IBM.

On the other hand, edge computing is happening because 5G is also being deployed all around the world. IBM says that the global 5G-enabled edge computing market is set to exceed US$50 billion by 2025. Today, this is still an emerging segment.

To continue reading the rest of this article, please read it in Issue 115 of the SubTel Forum Magazine on page 60 or on our archive site here.