Much of the mainstream connectivity discussion today focuses on 5G. Whether at home, city, vehicle, retail or health and wellness, 5G connectivity promises to open up endless possibilities for the tens of billions of Internet of Things (IoT) devices in use today and yet to launch. But since the 1990s, when Akamai launched its content delivery network (CDN), another conversation around the edge has taken place. Akamai’s story is worth sharing because it provides the historical context for why this blade was designed.

History of Akamai

In early 1995, while giving a lecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, predicted that as more people could access computers and the Internet, congestion would eventually follow. He encouraged his colleagues at MIT to devise cutting-edge ways to deliver content such as images and video. The team set out to develop a mathematical algorithm that could “intelligently route and replicate content through a large network of distributed servers” geographically closer to the end-user.

The result is Akamai, which many businesses around the world now rely on for content distribution. Berners-Lee of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who founded

Akamai and his colleagues have demonstrated that the edge doesn’t need 5G, 5G needs the edge. Here’s why: As carriers and network operators continue to build public and private 5G networks and deploy millions of sensors to connect wirelessly to IoT devices, the edge is essential to enable networks of people and devices to communicate faster and communicate in real-time. . . It is also essential to enable the next generation of consumer and enterprise applications and services. These large edge native.

Developed at a lower cost and faster to deploy, these edge native applications depend on edge computing architecture to ensure mobile, highspeed performance, and low latency, as well as privacy and security. That`s especially important for enterprises when considering the millions of employees who are working from home during this global pandemic. IDC predicts that by 2022 more than 40 percent of enterprises` cloud deployments will include edge computing.

Using The Edge

According to Marketing Dive, smartphone cellular data consumption surged 75% in March 2020 from March 2019 as a result of people using their mobile devices during lockdowns for social media, video conferencing, and streaming. In fact, video content accounted for more than 70% of mobile data traffic. WIRED reported that among the world`s 2.5 billion active gamers and esports professionals, a majority are now playing from a mobile device. With that tremendous demand for cloud storage and bandwidth expected to increase, the edge has become even more significant to the connectivity conversation.

The use cases are compelling across every industry, from smart cities, smart homes and connected vehicles to telemedicine and industrial IoT, where real-time monitoring of assets at the edge can reduce operating costs, risks to workers and downtime. Cities across the globe are currently in experimental stages or have already deployed millions of sensors to collect data for improving traffic flow, pedestrian safety, the environment and overall quality of life.

By uploading information to nearby data centers rather than central locations hundreds of miles away, cities receive real-time information that facilitates more efficient and cost-effective decision-making.

At its core, the design, deployment and management of IoT solutions depends on the edge prioritizing the first mile over the last. In the world of internet connectivity, the “last mile” usually refers to running cables from sidewalks to customer premises. This creates the final connection to send data and content from the central server to the edge. But in the world of IoT, this logic must be reversed. IoT starts with the edge and the data generated at the edge.

The data is only valuable when it can be consumed by an enterprise or consumer closer to where it`s created.
Particularly from a privacy and security perspective, edge computing will be essential for 5G as COVID ushers in not only the reality of more distributed teams and organizations but also consumer demands for enhanced digital experiences.


There is no doubt that the edge will enable 5G to deliver on its promise to open new doors and experiences, particularly for people that otherwise would not have access to such experiences. CES® 2021 is a great example. It is not ironic that this year’s global stage of innovation was created in a virtual environment. At Verizon CEO’s opening remarks, attendees learned how fast the future is coming.

In fact, it’s closer than we think because of the technology invented to support a connected world with a global pandemic. Connecting these technologies in real-time, including sensors, devices, base stations and local data centers, is a complex task. With advanced technology, the solution is closer than you think.


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