An edge device is a network component located at the network edge that provides access to a company's or service provider 's core network. Edge devices are increasingly equipped with intelligence and support various services such as quality of service( QoS) or multi-service functions for different data traffic.
An edge device can be an edge router( ER), an edge gateway( EGW) or an edge server, which is used to implement the transition from a wide area network(WAN) to a local area network( LAN) or an access area. Low-cost single- board computers such as the Raspberry Pi are suitable as intelligent edge devices.
In the Internet of Things, edge devices transmit the data packets between the various network structures and can process the sensor and actuator data from smart cities, smart homes, smart grids or automotive technology directly at the application at the edge of the network using edge computing or edge analytics via their processors, thus reducing the enormous volume of data from the IoT components. The control, management and processing of the resulting data becomes much more efficient; at the same time, data traffic and network load to the cloud are reduced.
In industrial applications, edge devices take over the connection and gateway functions. This involves the data conversion of the data supplied by the fieldbuses or WLANs into IP-based data traffic. Sensor data acquired in real time, which cannot be stored in sensors, must also be processed and transmitted accordingly. Here, the edge device takes over the intermediate storage and transport, using the MQTT protocol, but also the OPC Unified Architecture( OPC-UA).
Other extensive areas of application for edge devices are in the data security ofend-to-end connections and in the aggregation of transmission channels.