Edge Network– Unplugged | HCLTech

Edge Network– Unplugged

February 15, 2021
Abhinav Gupta


Abhinav Gupta
Product Management Lead, Global Network Services
February 15, 2021


Over the past few years, businesses across the spectrum have displayed faster digital adoption patterns than ever before. As digital becomes synonymous with doing business in the 21st century, more devices are connecting to network clusters. In 2020, the pandemic only sped up this digital adoption trend, and rapidly drove traditional ways of studying, working, living, and doing business onto digital platforms. While businesses across industries exhibit and rely on greater digital maturity for growth and survival, the need to reimagine the network infrastructure with new technologies is becoming a ticking time-bomb.

Digital transformation offers a compelling vision; promising new avenues of growth, reinforcing the need for low-latency at the edge, low response times, and wider information highways. With the fourth industrial revolution underway, connected manufacturing and smart factories require a digital foundation, necessary to catalyze adoption of new technologies such as digital twins, industrial IoT (IIoT), and collaborative robots. Objects ranging from cars and appliances to watches and apparel are learning and organizing themselves to fulfil our needs by automatically adapting to our behavior, environment, or business processes. The success of V2X technology requires real-time data analytics to drive instantaneous actions, such as collision warnings and emergency vehicle alerts without network latency.

Digital transformation offers a compelling vision, promising new avenues of growth – reinforcing the need for low-latency at the edge, low response times, and wider information highways.

Think about the mining and construction industry, where using zero network latency architectures, unmanned machines can be remote-controlled, saving human crane operators the risks of working in dangerous circumstances. Millions of IoT devices, smart offices, and homes are interacting with each other, every minute, to deliver a superior user experience, automation, and cost efficiency. Real-time adjustments optimize network latency for military-grade precision equipment, robotic surgery, and associated AR/VR simulations. Let us say the tethering with AR and VR will take place using a 5G connection; what about the connectivity between mobile devices and headsets? Can 5G alone fulfil the economy of high-speed pervasive connectivity? What does it take to realize the full potential of the edge value chain?

Future of Edge Networking: WiFi 6 and 5G

Bandwidth-heavy and often lag-sensitive use cases like on-site VR-enabled support, real-time analytics pipelines, tele-support, and bring-your-own-device models accelerate simultaneous adoption of 5G and WiFi 6. Working in tandem, WiFi 6 and 5G enable faster ingestion and processing of data from the physical world and online networks, and support more resilient, reliable, responsive, and integrated networked ecosystems.

In fact, fast adoption of 5G and the need for fiber-quality networking outdoors, calls for the need to offload this network traffic onto more reliable and convenient indoor network infrastructure. WiFi 6 leverages an unlicensed spectrum and is geared for high-density and distributed coverage. It is likely to bring about a multiplication value to other network technologies investments such as machine synchronization at automated production floors, better voice and video experience, better performance in extreme manufacturing, and sub-6ms latency for critical applications such as real-time healthcare data pipelining.

With functionalities such as advanced multiuser, multiple-input multiple-output communication (MU-MIMO) that can handle up to 12 streams of upstream and downstream data, and orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA) for bolstering the router and client device to handle communications between multiple devices at once in network clusters, Wi-Fi 6 is poised to become the principle on-ramp to the 5G B2B2X ecosystem, delivering low latency, high throughput, and superior capacity.

Edge Network Convergence

Beyond networking technologies, evolving distributed cloud paradigms, especially the growing degree and variety of intelligence at the network edge, is a key consideration for disrupting and building value with next-gen networking technologies and edge strategy. With the emergence of 5G, there is convergence in deployment & maintenance of private and public networks. Customer needs & technology evolution are creating structural changes, exploding data traffic - NFV/SDN being the biggest underlying driver.

Edge Network Convergence
Figure 1: Edge Network Convergence

Intelligent edge computing, which separates learning and reaction of AI applications, requires lightning-fast responses across several moving pieces in the puzzle. Reducing size and cost of edge computing power, in addition to specialized edge-AI hardware, is enabling enterprises to exploit lightweight and powerful AI features, where networking becomes an essential moving piece. In a growing experience economy, that can mean improved customer satisfaction and retention, lower costs to serve, and sustainable revenue growth.

However, other developments in edge networking will also form a crucial part of innovating and reconciling valuable use cases. For instance, enterprises should also expect to address the accompanying data security challenges. SD-WAN along with a SASE-based security model is likely to simplify ‘Branch-to-cloud’ architecture, easing data residence and privacy challenges. This is backed by implementing and maintaining resilient information access tiers aligned to employee personas, and zero-trust application architectures, becoming central to keeping fast and dense networks secure.


Historically, networking paradigm shifts have brought new value-propositions to existing products and services, while displacing the competitive equations across industries. The intelligent edge converges advanced connectivity, computing power, AI, and IoT into a platform driven model, creatingtoward building s unprecedented growth and monetization possibilities across the value chain. Leading enterprises are already innovating with these next-gen digital technologies and edge networking solutions. Moving in parallel with the current and continuing data explosion, WiFi 6 and 5G will be key to realizing the value potential of this dataverse.

Implementing a bespoke edge strategy requires smart orchestration across multiple technology towers, partners, service enablers, and creators. At HCLTech, we are building edge networking solutions, encompassing superior network connectivity, cloud networking, SDN/NFV/SD-WAN, cyber security, real-time analytics, automation, cognitive intelligence, multi-hybrid cloud, enterprise mobility, and microservices-based cloud-native architectures.

Bring next-generation networking to your enterprise and rewrite the leadership equation in your industry. To start today, contact us at contact.ngn@hcl.com

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