What is fog computing?

Fog computing is essentially a decentralised infrastructure where computing resources are situated between a data source and data centre or the cloud. Nodes receive data from IoT devices in real-time.

Fog computing has risen to the forefront as businesses explore the technologies they require to enable real-time automation, reduce latency and maximise bandwidth for real-time data capture and analysis.


Fog computing vs edge computing: what’s the difference?

The main difference between the two infrastructure models is processing location. Edge computing brings computing resources closer to data sources, allowing data to be accessed and processed locally and avoiding the need to communicate with geographically distant computing infrastructure. Fog computing essentially moves such activities to processors that are either connected to the LAN or the hardware itself, creating distance from the sensors.

In fog computing, data is processed within a fog node or LAN-situated IoT gateway. This usually takes place directly on devices with sensors attached or via a gateway device that is physically close to these sensors.


Why is fog computing important?

Fog computing is growing in popularity in industrial IoT whereby huge amounts of data is being collected, putting pressure on data storage and bandwidth. Fog computing can reduce this pressure by gathering and distributing storage, computing, and network connectivity services. This also significantly reduces energy consumption and improves performance for organisations.


Five benefits of fog computing

Below are some of the benefits of fog computing:

  • Privacy: Fog computing can be applied to control the level of privacy needed. Rather than being sent to a centralised cloud infrastructure, sensitive user data can be analysed locally, and the device managed and supported by an IT team. Data subsets that require further analysis can be sent to the cloud when needed.
  • Security: Numerous devices can be connected to the same network. Operations can then take place at various end points, rather than at a centralised location. Teams are then better able to scope out any potential threats before they impact the wider network.
  • Bandwidth: With data able to be processed locally, rather than in the cloud, bandwidth requirements can be drastically reduced. Fog computing can therefore be beneficial with IoT devices.
  • Latency: Alongside bandwidth, processing data locally is beneficial in terms of reduced latency, as data is processed physically closer to the end user’s location. This also enhances the customer experience.
  • Productivity: Fog applications can be applied to allow computing resources to function in line with the organisation’s preferences.


Examples of fog computing

The potential applications for fog computing are vast, with prominent examples below:

  • Smart cities: Fog computing can be applied to sensors throughout a city, with fog nodes processing data immediately rather than sending it back to cloud servers. With immediate processing, traffic lights could for example change to green to allow ambulances to get to their destination quicker, helping to save lives.
  • Video surveillance: Potentially part of a smart city deployment, fog computing can ease the issue of having to store large amounts of data, such as images and video recordings, in expensive servers, and instead allow execution in real time to detect any safety events.
  • Smart homes: Fog computing can be applied to administer delay-sensitive and security-crucial data of IoT device communications in homes. It helps to bridge the space between the cloud layer and user device layer, and removes the challenges associated with traditional architectures.
  • Healthcare: Fog computing can be applied in the healthcare setting. In cases where medical patients are suffering from chronic diseases, data generated from monitoring their condition can be processed more quickly than by traditional means. This allows for faster decisions to be made during a drop in vitals or another emergency.


Moving forward in the fog

Fog computing can bring a range of benefits to organisations, including the ability to control privacy, enhance security measures and productivity, reduce costly bandwidth requirements and keep latency to a minimum.

All businesses should be considering fog computing as a key component of their cloud infrastructure, particularly given the benefits to user experience and performance driven by faster processing of data. In much the same way as organisations have moved into cloud computing, fog computing is the natural next step.

To learn more about how Telehouse can support you with your edge and fog computing requirements, explore our data centre cloud connections and cloud connectivity services.