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August 27, 2019

Edge Computing Meets Data Centers’ Need for Speed

It’s easy to get very fast data center service when you live in a major market such as New York, Chicago, Dallas or San Francisco. Large population centers like these have mega-sites and fiber optic backbones capable of moving high volumes of near-instantaneous data.

But how do you get the same kind of speed — critical to today’s emerging technologies — in Columbus, Ohio; Tulsa, Okla.; South Bend, Ind. or more remote rural communities? And how do you keep pace with an ever-growing demand for fast data, even in some of America’s largest cities? AEP is helping to make this possible with its position in the expansion of edge computing data centers.

What (and where) is the edge?

While a lot of people in the data center industry are talking about “edge computing”, many experts are still debating exactly what it is. At AEP, we define the edge as any site or device that brings the power of large-scale data centers closer to end users. For example, some of the computing power needed to drive today’s highly networked world can be incorporated into micro-data centers in cell towers, small antennas on flagpoles or street lamps, manufacturing robots, personal medical devices, or autonomous vehicles, just to name a few.

Bringing the data center closer to you

Why build such a large network of small-scale computing power? Because the closer you bring processing capability to users, the less distance data has to travel. As a result, transmission costs go down, quality of service improves, and the entire network gets a significant speed boost.

That’s especially important in up-and-coming technologies like self-driving cars, where rapid processing of vast amounts of information can literally mean the difference between life and death. Augmented Reality, Big Data and the Internet of Things also stand to benefit from the kind of speed edge computing promises.

Growth in the core and the cloud

Cloud computing experts are quick to point out that the edge won’t make large-scale data centers go away any time soon. However, they’re making a strong case for more distributed networks of edge computing power that reduce or eliminate bottlenecks.

The benefits of this approach will become even more compelling as ultra-fast 5G networks start coming online in the next two to three years. With the ability to achieve speeds 20 times faster than today’s 4G networks, 5G will offer data speeds that rival fiber optic cable — dramatically expanding the range and potential of edge computing.

AEP gives you an additional edge

AEP offers significant advantages for edge computing applications, including:

  • Low tax rates — States in the AEP service territory are known for some of the most attractive corporate and property taxes in the nation.
  • Broad service territory — The AEP service territory spans 11 states from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes, providing a diverse selection of sites throughout the U.S. Locating within this territory offers you a reliable and redundant power supply, strong fiber networks, low disaster risks and business-friendly communities.
  • Moderate climates — Mild temperatures across much of AEP’s territory provide you with environmental and cost benefits. Moderate climates are better for equipment life and reduce both carbon footprint and electric costs for your site.

We can help you understand the many edge computing options available, and to choose the solutions that work best for your business. Learn more about how we support data centers. 

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