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This blog post is part of a series called “CommScope Definitions,” in which we will explain common terms in communications network infrastructure.
Cisco coined the term “fog computing” back in 2015 as the potential impact of literally billions of new data devices was envisioned. The new Internet of Things (IoT) would literally surround us with sensors and systems that through a connected network can provide new types of services and a myriad of new user experiences. Trying to imagine the scale of the IoT seems akin to imagining the number of raindrops surrounding you in a Texas rain storm (it rains hard here).
It is hard to imagine how all of the data that these new devices could produce would be organized. Frankly, how will we find the resources to support this IoT explosion? Today we imagine that much of the data we generate and consume is housed in some type of cloud – an abstract representation of computers run by the large hyperscale service providers. These clouds are “out there somewhere.” With the advent of IoT and the new types of services we might expect – think driverless cars, virtual reality (VR) –, these concepts will require a whole new method of dealing with IoT data and the services that it supports. This is where it gets “foggy.”
Instead of the data being “out there” in the cloud, the data is now literally converging on us, immersing us in data with IoT resources all around and close to us. The computers that serve up VR will need to be just a few blocks away. Controlling a car and coordinating traffic will need resources placed very close to the vehicles. Voila! The Internet “cloud” becomes a fog that surrounds us. The fog is the sensors, machines and computers that becomes IoT when they are linked together with a network. There is no fog without the network that connects it. Connecting billions of devices is a challenge – scale, speed and cost impacts in both capital and environmental terms must be considered. This is where CommScope fits in. You have IoT networks? Challenge accepted.