Harnessing 5G and Edge Computing to Futureproof Business

By Andy Horn, CEO of IntraLAN.

Emerging technology and the internet of things are key to driving Channel businesses into the future. Andy Horn, CEO of IntraLAN, the enterprise-level IT, technology and critical network provision experts, explains how Channel businesses can leverage 5G connectivity and Edge computing to revolutionise their operations.

For the past few years, every tech publication has featured how 5G and edge computing are the next best things for business – but how and why?

5G – What You Need to Know

5G connectivity is no longer a theory, it’s here, and businesses need to prepare - if they haven’t already. As we become more reliant on connected devices and the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G will enable businesses can take advantage of faster speeds and reduced latency. However, there are things you should consider.

To prepare to operate at the speed of light, you should:

- Educate yourself on 5G’s cybersecurity threats and invest in 5G cybersecurity infrastructure – Doing this will ensure your business is protected when you add 5G-enabled devices to your infrastructure.

- Plan out innovation – 5G brings with it a whole host of benefits, including better access to automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning. With a solid 5G strategy in place, businesses can ensure an easier transition from 4G to 5G and beyond.

5G mobile broadband offers plentiful benefits for Channel businesses, though some pitfalls could catch you out if you’re unprepared. Current cybersecurity strategies will be redundant in the new 5G world. Learning about the impact of DDoS attacks and spectrum sharing and realigning your cybersecurity initiatives around these will be vital to futureproofing your business.

Edge Computing

Everyone from businesses to governments are moving towards cloud-based infrastructures. The need for fast, effortless data processing grows with each entity that adopts this technology – and that’s where edge computing changes the game.

Edge computing gained traction just before the start of the pandemic, though it gained momentum as businesses transitioned to remote and hybrid working arrangements. With the growing adoption of IoT devices, 5G and edge computing are intrinsically linked.

Currently, UK businesses rely on the country’s 450 data centres. Each time an IoT device sends or receives data, it must pass through one of these centres. With the adoption of more and more devices, we’ll inevitably begin to see impacts of increased data traffic, including higher latency and slower speeds.

Edge computing is the solution. Edge computing connects IoT devices to data centres through smaller hubs or micro-data centres that are geographically closer to where the data is initially transmitted. As the edge network grows, data transmission will require less latency and lower bandwidth – a win-win for all businesses.

What are the benefits of Edge Computing?

Edge computing isn’t a fast fix, and, at first, we may not see the benefits. As UK businesses build a comprehensive edge computing ecosystem, the benefits will be felt by all contributing businesses and include:

- Faster processing and lower latency – Reducing the distance required for data to be processed will reduce latency and provide faster processing speeds in real-time. This will be critical in industries such as telecoms, medical and anything that uses artificial intelligence and automation.

- Increased resiliency – Decentralising your business’s data processing removes the potential single point of failure. With edge computing, if one device within the architecture fails, it can be shut down and doesn’t affect the rest of the network.

- Improved security – Processing data through edge computing means data isn’t sent to one centralised data centre. Instead, edge computing devices store minimal amounts of data and incomplete data sets and offer few entry points for incursions.

- Scalability – As the IoT grows and businesses expand, additional digital capabilities and data processing is required. Adding devices at the edge of the cloud can be more cost-effective than adding server capacity within centralised data centres and allows businesses to add only the devices required to scale their business.

Conclusion

5G broadband and edge computing go hand in hand, and futureproofing business means being up to date on the latest and emerging technology that can facilitate business continuity. For now, that means knowing about and implementing initiatives for 5G and edge infrastructure. Partnering with a knowledgeable IT and technology company is a great way for enterprises to keep pace with emerging technology, off-loading the pressure of keeping cybersecurity robust.

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