TSN benefits for edge computing

Edge computing is instrumental in the creation of frameworks that are capable of quickly and securely evaluating data and time-sensitive networking (TSN) can help.

By John Browett April 6, 2022
Image courtesy: Brett Sayles

Edge computing is key to optimizing data-driven activities, supporting the implementation of digital technologies. It allows data processing to take place close to the source, turning key data into actionable information. For Edge computing to work effectively, advanced network technologies are required to build the supporting infrastructure that is the backbone of successful enterprises.

Today, ever higher volumes of data are generated by smart applications and technologies, which enables a greater understanding of equipment status, processes and activities. This, in turn, can be translated into actionable insights to improve productivity, performance and efficiency.

However, having a solid, reliable infrastructure to share process data, information and knowledge is key. Moreover, edge computing is instrumental in the creation of frameworks that are capable of quickly and securely evaluating data. It conducts analytics for real-time decision-making at the periphery of the network, close to where data is being created, while also supporting knowledge generation by filtering what should be sent to the cloud or other higher-level systems. As a result, the edge can reduce latency and network costs as well as optimise bandwidth usage, increase speed, security and scalability. Even more, enhanced transparency, flexibility and availability can also be achieved.

The cutting edge

In order to take advantage of all the opportunities offered by Edge computing, it is important to set up a suitable network. The ideal solution should be able to support the key aspects of this technology. It should support a converged architecture that allows real time process traffic and asynchronous process data to share the same network without compromising the overall function of the system. This is achieved with a foundation of determinism, ensuring that all data types flow across the network in a predictable manner to deliver the required performance.

The key to delivering this deterministic, converged architecture is Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) which allows the critical data running the process to coexist with the equally critical but perhaps less time sensitive data about the process. It is this latter data type that is the lifeblood of the edge server. Using TSN means that these equally vital but very different streams of traffic can use a single network architecture, saving cost, simplifying maintenance and reducing project time.

Secondly, companies should look for an open solution that can provide maximum connectivity. This means supporting communications with different devices, whether on the shop floor or higher up in the automation hierarchy. Openness, interoperability and an integrated solution for automation on different levels are therefore essentials.

– This originally appeared on Control Engineering Europe’s website. Edited by Chris Vavra, web content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology, cvavra@cfemedia.com.

Author Bio: John Browett is general manager of CLPA Europe.