Next-generation 5G networks offer dramatically reduced latency to mobile devices, and connection speeds at least 10 times faster than 4G networks. The transformative element of 5G connectivity is that it can significantly increase the density of supported devices in a specific area—well-built 4G networks typically support about 4,000 devices per square kilometer, while 5G networks should someday handle something closer to one million devices per square kilometer.
Add edge computing to the mix, and a company has the tools they need to analyze, store and process data closer to the customer. When the customer needs that data, it's sent across 5G networks to their mobile device, smart home gadget, connected car or industrial IoT endpoint. By moving more of the processing off of the end-point devices, the overall network (from end-point devices through the mobile access network to the edge compute environment) is made faster, more efficient and much more agile than earlier technology architectures. As the Federal Communications Commission explains, edge computing "offers a future with near real-time, back-and-forth connections," and it's particularly useful for high-performance applications, such as Industry 4.0, IoT and video streaming.
"Edge technologies make it feel like every device is a supercomputer," the FCC says. "Digital processes become lightning fast. Critical data is processed at the edge of the network."