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Cloud, Fog and Edge Computing - Is this everything?

In today's post, Oriol Rius, an international IIoT Consultant and the director of Global Master's in Industrial Internet of Things continues his exploration into the computing dedicated to IoT and explores beyond cloud computing, edge computing and fog computing. Cloud, Fog and Edge Computing are the three layers, or the three paradigms, in which the computing dedicated to the IoT is simplified. But the reality is much more extensive and complex. The actual classification encompasses concepts such as Mist Computing, Mobile Computing, Mobile Cloud Computing, Multi-access Edge Computing, and Mobile ad hoc Cloud Computing, to name just a few of them. In this article, we will give an overview of the scope of these architectures and how they relate to each other.Sensors, actuators and other microcontroller-based devices are known as Mist Computing. They are networks where there is practically no data processing. We are at the extreme where the data is generated or right where it acts with the physical world.A subset of this data is sampled, or generated, by Mobile Computing (MC) systems. That is, mobile phones, tablets, laptops or other similar devices. A much smaller subset of these is what is known as Mobile ad hoc Cloud Computing (MAAC); This type of network might sound somewhat strange to us, but with some examples we will understand very quickly that we are talking about temporary networks oriented to devices that connect, or leave the network, with a certain frequency. For example, in natural disasters, sports broadcasts, events such as concerts, remote television stations, etc.All these networks can be used connected to Cloud Computing (CC). As we commented in the previous article, the Cloud in its lower layers encompasses Fog Computing and this in turn encompasses Edge Computing. This implies that Mist, MC and MAAC can be used in synergy with Fog Computing.Within Edge Computing there are a couple more paradigms to take into account: Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) and the Cloudlet. Both paradigms are very similar and are located on the edge of the Internet offering certain functionalities when there is no Internet connectivity. We often speak of MEC when we refer to connectivity via mobile networks, WiFi, WAN as opposed to Edge where we often refer to local networks (LAN) in all its forms. The MEC paradigm is defined as thinking about 5G networks and their next needs. Cloudlet is a topology oriented to real-time IoT applications. These are virtual machine infrastructures that mobile network operators place between devices and the Cloud to facilitate data interactivity in real-time.Do you need so much complexity? It is always debatable whether it is necessary to define such high levels of complexity. It is clear that not everyone has to know and understand all the nuances of this type of network. But it is very necessary to know that these classifications exist and what their main differences are between them. Or at least, the hierarchy between them.This will be especially useful when we have to find solutions to our requirements. We will be able to know where our requirement is included. To be able to map our needs with the functions offered in the different paradigms. All this will help us to search for products and solutions with the appropriate filters in search engines. The reality is even more complex than these models, but knowing where to start will reduce the time to search for solutions and allow you to quickly locate the right manufacturers.

Learn more about the uses of the Internet of Things in the industrial world and open your business to new opportunities!

Oriol Rius Academic Director of the Global Master's in Industrial Internet of Things IIoT Consultant at Oriol Rius


Zigurat Global Institute of Technology