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Livin on the Edge, Part 1: Evolving Tomorrow’s Internet

This is part one of a five part series on edge computing with a focus on communications services and cloud/internet.


The next wave of computing is coming to the edge. Just as the cloud moved processing, networking, storage, memory, and software into centralized locations, edge computing will bring these resources back closer to the devices consuming them. Enabled by an increasingly holistic approach to technology, edge computing has wide-ranging implications across both hardware and software.

In this report we discuss how the edge will: (1) add a layer to the current data center hierarchy, (2) require a new network architecture, (3) expand demand for all data centers, (4) evolve from use-case specific to platform-centric solutions, and (5) affect Cable’s investment in distributed architecture for an underappreciated play for the edge.

Edge Computing Will Add a Layer to the Current Data Center Hierarchy

The complex hierarchy that makes up the Internet today involves certain components being stored/computed in post optimal locations. This helps improve things such as functionality, cost, and security. The introduction of the edge will simply augment this architecture that already exists. However, it will enable a whole new set of complexity/sophistication that will in turn enable a whole new set of abilities.

Edge Computing Will Require a New Network Architecture

Routing on the Internet is done using a border gateway protocol (BGP). Unfortunately, due to factors such as competition and cost, BGP routing doesn’t simply take into consideration what is the most efficient/logical route. Establishing more edge locations will help to reduce latency and jitter. With this, various edge facilities will also need to be interconnected to one another to help limit traffic from traverse through a more centralized interconnect data center further up in the hierarchy.

Edge Computing Will Expand Demand for ALL Data Centers

The sheer increase in data associated with edge computing will not just drive demand for new edge data center types, but in theory should drive demand for all data centers to augment the current hierarchy.

An Evolution from Use-Case Specific to Platform-Centric Edge Solutions

It’s likely that the earliest edge computing solutions will be one-off/customized solutions. Ultimately, we believe most edge locations will be owned/operated by 3rd party providers and that their customers will largely consist of cloud and cloud-oriented companies.

Cable’s Investment in Distributed Architecture an Underappreciated Play for the Edge

With the conversation regarding edge infrastructure mostly revolving around telecoms and 5G wireless, Cable is often an overlooked and underappreciated formidable player in the space. Specifically, Cable operators are investing heavily in a next-gen architecture. This is primarily to keep up with burgeoning residential data demand (OTT video), but in doing so, the architecture lends itself to becoming an ideal provider of edge services.

Read the five part edge computing series

Part 1: Evolving Tomorrow’s Internet focuses on communications services and cloud/internet.

Part 2: The Brains and Nervous System of Edge Computing focuses on computing and memory.

Part 3: Storage & Networking focuses on storage and networking.

Part 4: Bringing Analytics & Business Logic to Edge Compute focuses on software and security.

Part 5: Enabling & Empowering Locally focuses on end-devices & services enabled by edge computing.