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Edge Computing for Enhanced IoT Device Network Efficiency

By Special Guest
Julia Sowells
September 27, 2017

Managing IoT devices can be very tough. Chiefly because they sometimes depend heavily on quick data processing. For this to happen, the data centers or servers responsible for processing the IoT device data has to be located in close proximity to the IoT device. This is not possible always. Therefore to avoid this problem and improve the network's efficiency (as well as security) so that IoT data is processed as quickly as possible, administrators these days are making use of what is being termed as Edge Computing.

Edge Computing? What is It?
Edge computing is the process of designing the IT network infrastructure such that the data emerging out of various IoT devices get processed as close to them as possible in order to increase the response time. Edge computing, apart from improving the network efficiency, also plays a major role in decreasing the cost of computer components and the number of networked devices needed when it comes to the internet of things (IoT).

To deploy edge computing – in other words, to ensure data is processed as close to the IoT devices as possible – instead of using a single data center (or a central cloud), a number of data centers spread across the places near to where the IoT devices have been installed, are put into use to share the data processing burden. Therefore the IoT devices will relay the information to the data center which is closest to them for processing.

Importance Of Edge Computing
The rate at which data is processed is quite critical when it comes to IoT devices. For example, in the case of an IoT device like the smoke detector, the response has to be quick. Whereas for certain other IoT devices, the response need not be that quick. Edge computing comes in handy especially for those healthcare related IoT devices, where the lives of the patients may depend upon the critical data.

Can Edge Computing Improve Network Security?
The opinion is pretty much divided when it comes to whether edge computing can improve the network security or not. Some security experts argue that security is enhanced because the data does not have to travel much distance. Moreover, it stays close to where it was created. Therefore the lesser the distance it has to travel, the lesser are chances of the data being intercepted.

Another group of security experts argument is that what if the edge devices themselves are more vulnerable. If this was the case, the security would be compromised greatly, no matter how intense the security measure you apply may be. Therefore one cannot, at the moment, clearly confirm whether edge computing can address network security aspect as well.

Some of the Benefits of Edge Computing:
There's no doubt that edge computing has the potential to go a long way. In helping improve the IoT devices which are gaining traction in today's world. Below are listed some of the benefits this technology offers:

  • Real-time Data Analysis: The first and foremost advantage of deploying edge computing is the real-time analysis of data emerging from various IoT devices. As mentioned already, this factor plays a crucial role when it comes to IoT devices whose data has to be analyzed real-time. Like, for example, in the case of health-care related IoT devices.
  • Lower Operating Costs: When things are operating efficiently, they will eventually lower your operating costs. Moreover, strategically placed data centers which are closer to the IoT devices will reduce the network workload, prolonging the life of the various networking related devices.
  • Reduced Network Traffic: With edge computing, you are directing the traffic from various IoT devices in an efficient manner, by using various data centers than relying on one single (overburdened) server. Therefore edge computing reduces network traffic greatly.
  • Improved Application Performance: Obviously when the data is being processed at a rapid pace, the performance of the application (that is, the IoT device) will improve greatly.

About the author: Julia Sowells is a security geek with almost 5+ years of experience, writes on various topics pertaining to network security.


 
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