The Edge, 5G, and AI: How Three Technologies are Combining to Make Your Solution Soar
Jun 24, 2022
It's not often that three revolutionary technologies can combine and work in harmony, but as you read this, it's happening. Solution providers are leveraging Edge computing, 5G, and AI to create applications that can accomplish more than ever. Companies like Dell Technologies and UNICOM Engineering are making it possible with platforms like the Dell PowerEdge XR11 and XR12 servers.
The Benefits of 5G
Given 5G's recent publicity, it might be easy to assume its benefits are only hype. However, over the older LTE technology, 5G has been proven to deliver:
- Transfer speeds that are 100 times faster
- A network latency drop from 20ms to <1 ms
- A 100-fold increase in devices it can support simultaneously
- A power consumption reduction of 90%
Therefore, add to this potential of Edge platforms running AI and ML, and solution providers can address a near-limitless set of use cases.
3GPP and its Evolving Role in 5G
Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) was formed in 1998 as an independent organization to develop standards for 3G mobile networks and is now helping to standardize 5G and other networking technologies. None of 5G's advances would be possible without the guiding hand of 3GPP. For example, in addition to delivering the benefits of 5G mentioned above, they created a set of open IP protocols and APIs.
Open IP protocols are what make the Internet possible. If each networking vendor used a proprietary method for IP addressing, users would be restricted in the websites they could visit. Instead, internet users can visit any page from any browser. What 3GPP has done is apply a similar concept to 5G so that hardware and software from varying vendors can communicate and leverage the advantages of the network.
3GPP has also developed northbound APIs for solution providers that enable applications to connect to software-defined networks (SDNs). As a result, they've helped create an ecosystem of developers working on and sharing new ways for 5G to enhance AI and ML.
The Synergy of 5G and AI
While, at first, it may seem as if 5G and AI are innovations that are coming together for the first time, in reality, 5G already leverages AI in the way it operates, including:
- Traffic prediction
- Automated antenna focusing on finding optimum channels
- Automated power-down of specific equipment when not needed
- Advanced scheduling
- Signal noise cancellation
- Network planning and management
- Performance optimization with Self-Organizing Networks (SON)
These benefits combine to make 5G deployments (especially those that leverage Edge servers) fertile ground for AI applications. Suddenly, the network can play a vital role in driving an AI's performance rather than being a limiting factor.
Powering AI at the Edge: Dell PowerEdge XR11 and XR12 Servers
Of course, the power of a network is not just in its devices and protocols but in the servers that receive, process, and transmit data. Previously, AI and ML required so much speed and processing power that they needed to be hosted on core or cloud-based platforms. Today, with Edge servers like the Dell PowerEdge XR11 and XR12, applications can physically move outward, closer to where data is generated. And, as we know, the more quality data an AI can ingest, the better its inferences.
Whether your organization's Edge environment consists of a local telecom point of presence, a retail location, an oil rig, or even a battlefield, the XR11 and XR12 are designed to perform at a high level. Both units are ruggedized to operate within MIL-STD, NEBS, and Marine standards. Therefore, they can withstand vibration, extreme temperatures, and dust.
Internally, the XR11 and XR12 support one 3rd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor with up to 36 cores. These CPUs feature Intel's Deep Learning Boost technology to accelerate AI processing. In addition, the XR11 offers a 1U configuration and the XR12 a 2U. As for memory and storage, both units provide eight DDR4 DIMM slots, with up to 4 x 2.5-inch SATA/SAS/NVMe (SSDs) support in the XR11 and up to 6 x 2.5-inch SATA/SAS/NVMe (SSDs) in the XR12.
Therefore, the Dell PowerEdge XR11 and XR12 are designed to deliver core or cloud computing processing in locations that are physically closer to end-users, enhancing your application's performance and end-user experience.
A Growing List of Use Cases
As Edge computing, 5G, and AI continue to come together, how all three technologies are used continues to grow. For example, in banking and retail, AI detects and prevents fraud, sometimes at the point of sale in real-time. On the shop floor, applications monitor and preserve the life of vital machinery. And in hospitals, they're aiding in the early diagnosis of chronic diseases and the search for cures. In short, 5G, the Edge, and AI are teaming up to improve life for businesses and consumers alike.
Ending the SDD vs. HDD Debate
SDDs have their advantages over older HDDs, like latency, for example. However, from an economic point of view, HDDs have the Edge making them the practical choice in many situations. To maximize performance, the ME5 generation's auto-tiering function analyzes data patterns and can appropriately store data on both SDDs and HDDs.
Unleash Your Solution's Superpowers with UNICOM Engineering and Dell Technologies
Given the pace at which the Edge, 5G, and AI are coming together. The time is right to investigate how these technologies can take your solution further. UNICOM Engineering is a full-service OEM integration partner that maintains relationships with industry leaders like Dell Technologies, Intel, and HPE. So schedule your consultation today to begin exploring the Edge, 5G, and AI possibilities.