What is meant by Industrial Edge computing?
Whether you call it Industry 4.0, IIoT or digitisation, manufacturing gets better results by acquiring and analysing production process data. Machines in industrial environments like industrial PCs, PLCs, and HMIs have some data handling capability, but not enough to cope with smart machines. Industrial Edge computing addresses this.
By digitising their production processes, users develop vast reservoirs of data, all needing different levels of availability. Making use of this bandwidth-intensive content on time is important to improve productivity.
To support this demand, computing power and storage are being inserted on the network edge to lower data transport times and increase availability. Industrial edge computing brings bandwidth-intensive content and latency-sensitive applications closer to the user and data source. Data analysis takes place on the local device and in real-time without connectivity issues. Industrial edge computing removes issues from both latency and bandwidth according to a white paper from Schneider Electric.
Latency is the time between transmitting a data packet to the moment it reaches its destination and returns. Even though most data travels only one way, it is almost impossible to measure. That is why round-trip time from a single point is the most common latency measurement. Round trip latencies of less than 100 ms are typical and less than 25 ms desired.
Bandwidth refers to the transmission speed of data on the network. Manufacturers publish their networking equipment at maximum speeds. But the actual speed obtained in a given network is almost always lower than the peak rating. Excessive latency creates traffic jams that prevent data from filling the network to capacity. The impact of latency on network bandwidth can be temporary, lasting a few seconds or constant.
Industrial edge computing
Industrial edge computing is a generic term that can include connected devices in the production line or local data centres. A local data centre can also connect to a regional data centre or the cloud.
Cloud computing has always been a centralised architecture. Edge computing transforms cloud computing into a more distributed computing cloud architecture. The main advantage is that this limits any disruption to only one point in the network instead of the entire network.
Furthermore, it limits a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack or a long-lasting power outage for example to the edge computing device and the local applications on that device as opposed to all applications running on a centralised cloud data centre.
Companies that have migrated to off-premise cloud computing can benefit from industrial edge computing for increased redundancy and availability. Duplication of business-critical applications or applications needed to operate the core functions of the business can be on-site.
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