Multi-access edge computing (MEC) and a distributed cloud are often mentioned as sources to enhance the computing experience. But what’s the difference between MEC and distributed cloud? Or are they the same thing?
Multi-access edge computing refers to the area that is the edge of a network. Various access points may define the network edge, hence the multi-access in the name. MEC access points include cell phone towers, routers, WiFi, and data centers, to a name a few.
A distributed cloud refers to the computation, storage, and networking in a micro-cloud located outside the centralized cloud. Examples of a distributed cloud include both fog computing and MEC computing. Establishing a distributed cloud(s) outside of the centralized cloud situates computing closer to the end user and provides increased security and decreased latency. The distributed cloud also processes data in real-time.
What’s the Difference Between MEC and Distributed Cloud? The Future Outlook
Edge computing is already a reality. It’s anticipated that a significant increase in connected technology will surge the demand for edge computing to alleviate network traffic. Santhosh Rao, Gartner’s principal research analyst, commented that “currently, around 10 percent of enterprise-generated data is created and processed outside a traditional centralized data center or cloud… By 2022, Gartner predicts this figure will reach 50 percent.”
The Advantages of MEC Being a Distributed Cloud
- MEC solves the issue of maintaining connectivity while massive amounts of data are transmitted in real-time for the use of the Internet of Things (IoT) technology. MEC offloads data in the cloud during peaks in computing traffic, thus ensuring a quick, reliable, real-time connection.
- Microsoft calls attention to the fact that “edge computing enables manufacturing equipment and other smart devices to operate without disruption even when they’re offline or Internet connectivity is intermittent.”
- Network traffic congestion is also relieved by the localization of the computing source. Sprint details how MEC alleviates traffic congestion because “less data is transmitted from local devices via a network to a data center or cloud, thereby reducing network traffic bottlenecks.”