Internet of Things, IoT is all about a network that spreads across the widest possible network. Hence, there are gaps and holes left in this network, which makes the network vulnerable. More importantly, IoT and cloud computing, as it seems, are not the best fit. So, bridging the gap between the two has become an imperative and fog computing has come to rescue for them. The ubiquitous presence of IoT demands something more advanced than cloud, and it is here fog computing seems to be quite successful by proving its worth around the edges.
Cloud appears to be too slow for IoT devices, especially the real time ones. It is because cloud’s latency as well as Quality of Service or QoS are not good enough for special IoT cases like autonomous vehicles as well as high-functioning robots. Since these technologies will soon dominate the world, it is natural that alternatives will be sought.
Not the speed, but the network
Researchers have been looking at the wrong direction from the beginning. Since there is a lot of data, and you need to compensate the low latency through a robust connection that provides computational resources a real-time feel, researchers thought that developing a 5G connection would solve the issue. However, the issue of range still persists since devices have to be connected across vast distances where there are no intermittent hubs.
Hence, while the 5G connection provided some relief, a new technology was being sought that could provide a software as well as hardware design to let the computing happen at the edge. This project is broadly known as an initiative for a software defined network, and fog computing comes as a major concern of this project. Interconnectivity is the determining factor in this regard as decentralization is the prime focus.
Bringing computing to the edge
Since IoT devices are not always supported on the finest hardware for the simple reason of cost, relying on microcontrollers as well device memory to perform complex computations. Given the scenario, you simply cannot rely on device action to perform the computation if need be. However, if there is a technology that puts servers at the edge that will take the computation burden and send the data to the device, things become considerably simpler.
Such an IoT device may revolutionize the very idea of traffic management, for example, by updating the stoppage time of cars according to the rush, thus optimizing the road traffic. Such smart networks are already being thought of as the world of consumer electronics can now be deeply connected to provide a wide range services ranging from healthcare to automotive, public utilities etc. to a particular area.
5G is good, but fog is the best
5G is not going to lessen fog’s perspective but it will rather enhance it. Currently, a new connectivity mode called Fog Radio Access Networks of F-RAN is being discussed that is apparently more powerful than simple 5G, especially for highly heterogeneous networks. Often, networks don’t function within a particular band and that can become a problem. However, F-RAN is trying to bind 5G to these networks. By this marriage, the various processes of communication like signal processing, control and user planes will now be grouped according to their functionality.
Hence, devices will now be existing in clusters instead of being alone, functioning as one. Fog computing, however, is still not being thought as a replacement of cloud. Rather, the two will always have conversations as each of them have their area of specialization. When functioning together, they can surely turn the course of computation to a different direction.