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Edge Computing vs Distributed Computing

Mobile Cloud Computing v. Edge Computing

By Kelly McCarthy

Distributed Computing

Distributed computing a computer system that consists of multiple software components, on multiple computers, that run as a single system. The computers that operate in this type of system can either be physically close together on a local network or can be located in different geological areas on a larger scale network. The goal of distributed computing is to make the network work as a single computer. There are many advantages with distributed computing, with the top two being scalability and redundancy. A distributed computing system is able to be physically built upon, being expanded by adding more machines as needed. They create a more positive experience with redundancy, as several of the same machines provide the same services, so if a machine fails, the work does not stop. Distributed computing is important as it has the ability of the computer system to be fully controlled and everything is owned by the individuals, rather than working on a cloud service where it is controlled by another individual.

Edge Computing

Edge computing is the idea that computing should be done closer to the device that is being utilized, rather than at a data center further away. There are many advantages in utilizing edge computing, with the top two aiming to reduce latency and bandwidth use. Bandwidth is the maximum amount of data transmitted over an internet connection in a given amount of time. Latency is very similar, except is related to the speed at which the data can move from one point to another. Factoring both of these into our opinion, edge computing is important because bringing the computing closer to the source of the data creates a more positive experience to the user, ensuring time-sensitive and efficient operations are running smoothly.

How do these connect?

Edge and distributed computing connect in the way that they aim to make computing simple, bringing it closer to the device in use or the physical location, and they both aim to create a more positive experience for the user. Like I mentioned before, edge-computing aims to bring the ability of computing closer to the source of the data, ensuring a positive experience with things like speed. Distributed computer does the same, except it contains an abundance of physical machines that run all the computers as one network to ensure a positive experience for the user. A key difference between the two is that edge computing brings the computing closer to the source of the data, so it is nearby. While distributed computing does the same, the physical location where the computers are not required to be in close proximity, although it can.

How do these relate to MIS 3406?

In MIS3406, we focused a lot on cloud computing, more specifically AWS. Amazon Web Services is a great tool that enables businesses and users to have a low-cost and easy to manage system for computing, storage, and more. Edge computing and distributed computing have the same goals to the services that we have talked about this semester in MIS3406, but the way that they operate is different. There are many different ways to achieve a single goal, so it depends how the individual or the business plans to do so. There are many things that need to be taken into consideration when deciding.

Example in practice

Edge computing is a relatively new concept, but it is helping different industries become more efficient in their daily tasks. For example, edge computing is becoming increasingly important in the healthcare field. In the article I read, it spoke a lot about how the pandemic transformed the healthcare field. Patients are skeptical to come to the physical office as they do not want to put themselves into the situation where they are at risk of catching COVID-19. Edge computing in the healthcare field is enabling doctors and nurses to monitor patients remotely, automate the delivery of care, and bring artificial intelligence to improve the speed and accuracy of a diagnosis. Edge computing helps put power in the places it is needed most – an ambulance, hospital, operating room, and more. In Barcelona, edge computing is used in ambulances by enabling EMTs to capture high-definition videos of their patients and vital signs of trauma victims. This information is the sent to the hospital in a high-speed manner. Examples of distributed computing include cellular networks and computer networks. These examples have many different computers that have different services that it provides, but when everything is connected, they run as a single software ultimately achieving the goal. In the case of cellular networks, the final goal is to allow consumers to be able to make phone calls and do things on cellular data without having to be connected to Wi-Fi.


CloudFlare. “What Is Edge Computing? | Cloudflare.” CloudFlare, CloudFlare,

Gillis, Alexander S. “What Is Latency?”, TechTarget, 29 Jan. 2020,,close%20to%20zero%20as%20possible.

IBM. “What Is Distributed Computing.” IBM, IBM, 19 Apr. 2021,

Tynan, Dan. “How the Edge Is Reshaping Healthcare.” HPE, HPE, 12 Mar. 2021,

Verizon. “What Is Bandwidth – Definition, Meaning & Explanation.” Verizon Fios, Verizon Fios,

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