5G is all set to come in which has the potential to be a complete gamechanger as the Edge will become primary (when compared to the cloud and central data centre) and Edge will bring new use cases, as we see the internet growth using the 3G and 4G came in the last decade, the 5G will turn the Edge to be much greater.
“In RailTel we have one of the largest public WiFi networks which were created connecting around 6000 plus stations, which is used by the traveling public as well as people who are coming to the station to see off their relatives.
In fact, at some other stations, which are close to the college, we see students coming and sitting there and using the internet because initially, we made it free, and now we are charging after the first 30 minutes,” said Chandra Kishore Prasad, Director IT, IRISET- Ministry of Railways during a panel discussion titled ‘Edge Data Centres – Pushing Towards the Edge For Accuracy’ in W.Media’s South Asia Digital Week 2022 India edition.
He further pointed out that there are a lot of stories behind that, even from Kerala, one of the porters used the service in Kochi and cleared the PSE exam. Almost 20 million people use the network and for this, we have the broadest network, the CDN which is very close to the end-user because, during the COVID time, we saw that the traffic internet traffic increased by 80 per cent to 82 per cent range.
The traffic was of short-duration videos. So short video traffic, like tictok including many other applications, requires a faster or good user experience you require to go to the edge and search on the Edge. So, with that, his team had to create more capacity on the Edge through which the user can get a good experience by using the internet services.
“At the same time we started the industrial IoT for our workshops and there we have Computer numerical control (CNC) machines and other devices located, which are heavy in capital cost to manage the operation team and how many hours it has been used what is idle time and conserve like such of the equipment to save power, for example, or to basically also get the health of the equipment to basically do preventive maintenance to see how many hours It is useful that different parties to replace. So we can scientifically use the power of data to do the maintenance of the systems rather than basically going towards the scheduled maintenance. So, it can be condition-based maintenance, rather than doing interventions now and then,” added Prasad.
When an application requires low latency as explained earlier that a lot of application use cases on IoT is or require low latency and with 5G coming in there will be a sub-millisecond latency. The Edge data centre is also for critical workloads, which can be moved to the Edge, depending on the time of the day or the peak.
“The quantum of the magnitude of the Edge data centres is really going to increase and the Edge will be of different sizes. We can see one rack to ten racks or five racks of data centres remerging, and they have to be integrated and connected to the regional data centres for processing the data,” Prasad explained.
Earlier this year, RailTel announced that it will create Several “Edge Data Centres” In the Railway Premises/Land across 102 Locations Especially Tier-2 and Tier-3 towns in India jointly with partners.
The move will accelerate the pace of digital transformation and efficient digital delivery in rural and semi-rural areas. The major benefit of an Edge Data Centre is the quick delivery of services with minimal latency. This activity entails an investment opportunity of around Rs. 500+ Crore under PPP (Public-Private Partnership) Model.
In the year 2021 RailTel and CSC e-Governance Services India Ltd had signed an MOU to leverage each other’s strengths for increasing broadband penetration in rural and semi-urban areas for bridging the digital divide.