Cloud computing has given us a way to store and access incredible amounts of data without the use of traditional server banks. Smartphones are constantly sending and retrieving data from the cloud, but they are also bound by the limitations of wireless networks, as are any businesses that send data to mobile devices. The problem is that getting data into and out of the cloud is a matter of bandwidth. Mobile apps have become a great way to get things done on the Internet via smartphone, because your device handles some of the data and processing power itself.
Because more and more objects in our environment are becoming “smart,” and given the ability to connect to the Internet, the amount of data being generated is outpacing the capabilities of 3G and 4G networks to process it. As this trend increases, and more objects join the “Internet of Things,” the problem will only continue to grow.
Why do we have so much data?
The U.S. ranks 35th in the world in terms of bandwidth per user, according to the World Economic Forum. And we are constantly adding to the list of objects that can connect and send data to the cloud. Take airplanes, for example. According to General Electric Co., one engine from a Boeing 747 generates half a terabyte of data in a single flight. And now the problem comes into focus. With less bandwidth and more data, things are bound to slow down.
So what is fog computing?
The name itself is a clever play on cloud computing. While the Cloud is somewhere up in the sky, fog is much closer to the ground, right next to us. Basically, fog computing stores information on the edge of the network, in many smaller computers that are all around us, rather than in a network of powerful servers. The goal is to store information on all the previously mentioned objects that are gaining “smart” status. Things such as streetlights, appliances, cars, and every other part of our daily life that is gaining Internet capabilities will be used in this vision. Almost anything that can be monitored or measured is going to become Internet-capable.
These smaller computers are what make up the “edge” of the network, where the Internet ends and the real world begins. The center of the network is made up of data centers, while the edge consists of things like personal computers and smartphones. This could provide a viable option for the future in terms of storing and sending data by lifting some of the load off of regular cloud services.
The future of enterprise computing still remains in the cloud, but as the Internet of Things grows, the fog is going to become more and more important in terms of computing. Be sure to keep an eye on this technology as it progresses, and don’t miss out on any of the opportunities it provides. Get in touch with us today to learn more.
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Lacey earned a B.A. from Baylor University. Sic'em!
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