5G Edge computing: pushing the speed limit

5G antenna, will 5G edge computing be the future?
Written by Melker Wångdahl

5G edge computing is the next big step for any data-driven and forward-thinking industry. Faster, broader bandwidth without latency.

As virtually every industry gets more and more data-driven, requires more computing and faster connections. We have seen a rise in the use of edge computing. Now the service providers are combining it with 5G to offer even more speed.

What is edge computing?

The concept of edge computing is to have smaller data centers at the edge of the network, close to where it is needed. So instead of sending and receiving data to the servers on the other side of the country, you can have them right next to your business.

The smaller data center communicates with the bigger one while you communicate with the one next door. This will reduce latency and get you your data faster. You could say that instead of running the information on the cloud through servers far away, the cloud will be brought to you.

What does 5G bring to the table?

What differentiates the 5G network from previous generations is that it operates on higher frequencies than 4G. A higher frequency means a lower signal range, but it will also greatly increase the connection speed. In the higher frequencies, the speed is measured in Gbit/s and can compete with cable internet.

5G will bring data transmissions at low latency and with high bandwidth. It´s going to be the key connection between the edge device and the cloud.

The use cases of 5G edge computing

Automated Vehicles

One area that is set to benefit greatly from 5G and edge computing is the transportation industry and specifically automated vehicles. There is a ton of data to be processed constantly in a self-driving car. Sensor readings need to be turned into decisions etc.

This will no doubt require a rather expensive computer to be put into each car. Using 5g and edge computing, this cost could be greatly lessened. The data from several cars could be sent to the closest edge unit and computed. This way, the required computing power in each car is lessened and the car will be cheaper to manufacture.

Manufacturing

Smart factory powered by 5G edge computing

The future in manufacturing lies in smart factories, highly automated, wireless, and connected. Smart factories have automated alert systems that immediately identify flaws and errors in the products. They also rely heavily on robots and everything is tracked with sensors. All these things require a lot of data to be computed and tracked.

So, the problem smart factories face is to process huge amounts of data at a high speed and with low latency. If you have read this far you can probably tell that the solution to this seems to be 5G edge computing.

Gaming

High-end games that do not require high-end computers? Seems like that would make it a lot easier to sell a subscription. Even if you are not at all into gaming or the industry, you can probably tell that it is going to be good business to reduce the barrier of entry to your product.

Cloud gaming is when the game your playing is being run on the server instead of on your computer. Your own device will basically just be sending your mouse and keyboard input and receiving video, not unlike a streaming service. High-end processors and graphic cards won’t be needed at the level they are now, reducing the price of gaming computers greatly.

This could also breathe life into the AR gaming hype. If you can get the computing power of a data center into your phone, the next generation of Pokémon GO could look a lot more like the TV-series.

Previously this has not been possible. The latency immediately kills cloud gaming. Unless you somehow snuck your ethernet cable into the AWS server room, the connections are too slow. The AR-gaming we speculated about would have set your phone on fire without edge computing.

5G edge computing makes these hurdles a lot smaller and creates vast opportunities for the entire business.

If you want to read more on 5G and how we got here, check out this post.