What is the relationship between 5G and edge computing?

The combination of edge computing and 5G leverages the capabilities of both technologies in a symbiotic relationship.

edge computing 5g
Communication Team

Telefónica

Reading time: 3 min

The relationship between edge computing and 5G could be seen as symbiotic: they combine the value they have in themselves into a more powerful solution that leverages new ways of connecting devices.

Although they are two very different technologies, their nature makes them complementary, with 5G increasing the speed of data transfer and edge computing reducing the round trip between the device and the cloud or data centre, thereby also reducing unnecessary traffic.

Thus, the combination of the two technologies improves network performance, opening up new opportunities in a sum that enhances the digital experience.

Edge computing: what is it and what are its benefits?

Edge computing is a technology that brings computing closer to the source of data, reducing both bandwidth usage and latency.

Thanks to edge computing, as it is also known, fewer processes are run in the cloud and moved to local environments, thus minimising both data traffic and the need to send it.

So-called edge computing allows services to be decentralised by moving key components of workloads and reducing network congestion.

Edge computing avoids sending too much data to the cloud, processing it and sending it back to the source, thereby increasing operational efficiency by improving speed and resilience, and lowering the costs associated with data storage, data transmission and local server operations.

5G: what it is and what its benefits are

5G is the fifth mobile generation, marked by speed, density and latency to meet today’s need for massive connectivity. It is a quantum leap towards hyper-connectivity.

5G offers up to 100 times faster speeds than 4G networks, as well as a higher degree of security and a 90% reduction in energy consumption.

To optimise performance for data-intensive applications such as video or Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality applications, 5G networks must move processing power closer to the edge.

5G technology will enable breakthroughs in areas as diverse as healthcare, smart cities, connected vehicles and entertainment.

Combining 5G and edge computing

As discussed above, the combination of these two technologies, edge computing and 5G, creates opportunities for new products, platforms and experiences across industries.

Edge computing enables virtualisation of the cloud beyond the data centre, so workloads created in the cloud can be migrated to the edge.

This technology therefore enables:

  • Lower costs and better data control by minimising data transport to central nodes and reducing vulnerabilities.
  • Faster information gathering and action by accessing a larger number of data sources and processing them at the perimeter.
  • Continuous operations by enabling autonomous operation of systems even when they are offline to reduce outages and lower costs.

Conclusion

As we discussed at the beginning of this article, the relationship between 5G and edge computing could be described as symbiotic, as both technologies enhance each other’s performance by enabling the processing of huge amounts of data in real time.

5G significantly increases speed and computing at the edge, just as 5G reduces latency, in this case by placing its computing capabilities closer to the end user.

In short: 5G increases the speed at which data travels and edge computing reduces the distance data must travel before it can be processed, so edge computing improves the performance and throughput of 5G.


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