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The Differences Between Mobile Edge Computing and Fog Computing Article

edge vs fog


Guest post by Christian Renaud, Research Director Internet of Things, 451 Research

There’s been rapid growth in the deployment of Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives across all industry sectors in 2016 (see right).  Among the many use cases developed so far are applications which require extremely low latencies (<10ms). Historically these applications have been served by local processing resources, but there are two new options on the scene - Fog Computing and Mobile Edge Computing (MEC). The two terms are often used interchangeably, but there are some key differences.

Single-tenant vs multi-tenant 

Whereas Fog Computing is a single-tenant, enterprise-owned set of devices, Mobile Edge Computing is a multi-tenant application and once realized, will be prioritized for multiple stakeholders.

Fog computing is most commonly seen in gateway devices with computational and storage capabilities, from vendors including Intel, HPE and Dell. In contrast, Mobile Edge Computing focuses on external applications such as traffic control of autonomous vehicles and public safety. Multiple use cases have been developed for MEC, ranging from autonomous vehicle operation, advanced robotics to augmented reality.

The point at which data is processed

Both fog and edge envisage distributed analysis close to where the data originates, reducing the delay in transmission of IoT data to the cloud. However, whilst fog processes data closer to the local area networks, MEC pushes this even closer to the source.

Approach to connectivity

Fog computing combines the functions of connectivity, whereas edge computing favors each item operating independently.

Ultimately, the number of applications that fall under IoT is so vast that both fog and edge computing will be required.  The application latency requirements of industrial and utility IoT, as well as information security, corporate policy, and data sovereignty laws, will need the two to work in tandem to be fully successful.

Christian Renaud joins a panel discussion at MEC Congress, Munich on ‘MEC, Fog, Distributed Cloud and Open Edge Computing: Similarities, differences and the future of the ecosystem‘. 

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One Comment

  • I would have thought that Fog Computing would have been ‘closer to the source’ as it is on-premise, whereas MEC will be at the edge of the telecom carrier network?

    • Steve Jennis
    • 3 Oct, 2016 @ 14:00

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