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Fog Computing or Edge Computing — Know the Difference

The world of computing sometimes seems foreign to the average person. While most tech enthusiasts understand the basics of computing and cloud computing, the changing nature of IT means more terminology emerges to describe new network components, such as edge computing and fog computing.

These two types of computing have both similarities and differences. What are they and which one is right for a business?

An Overview of Cloud Computing

The world of cloud computing is complex and sometimes confusing. For some time, businesses weren’t sure about transitioning to a cloud-based architecture, as they were unaware of the cloud and what storing data there could do for their business. Now, almost every company leverages some type of service from well-known cloud providers like Amazon Web Services, Google and Microsoft.

Since the amount of data generated daily is rapidly increasing, it’s no surprise more companies are leveraging cloud computing technologies. However, high data traffic volumes can cause latency or bandwidth issues, and the technologies these businesses use are ineffective at storing and processing these data.

What Is Edge Computing?

As its name implies, edge computing occurs right at the “edge” of an application network. Often, this means edge computers are right near the source of data generation, whether it’s Internet of Thihgs (IoT) connected devices or other types of sensors collecting data.

Data collected in an edge computing application is obtained, either entirely or partially processed, and sent directly to the cloud for more processing or storage. Since edge computing gathers data right at the edge, this can lead to massive amounts of data going to the cloud, which can only handle so much data simultaneously. It can impact system efficiency, performance and even security.

What Is Fog Computing?

Fog computing is very similar to cloud computing. As its name suggests, “fog” is almost like a cloud, except it’s a much smaller version closer to the ground — “ground” is where the device's data is generated.

Fog computing has elements of cloud computing, such as the ability to process, analyze and store critical data. However — compared to cloud computing — fog computing processes happen much closer to the devices generating data, such as technology in the vast network of the IoT.

Think of fog computing as a mediator between operating at the edge and operating in the cloud.

Networks can only handle a finite amount of data. With the amount of information rapidly growing, businesses must have the technology and network infrastructure to contain it.

Differences Between Fog Computing vs. Edge Computing

Fog and edge computing are closely related, but they do have a few key distinctions. Learn more about the specific similarities and differentiators between these two types of computing.


● Seek to place storage and computing resources close to or at the location where data generates

● Rely on the same hardware and software

● Are capable of processing critical data

● Reduce or eliminate the need to move massive amounts of data large distances over a network

● Are enablers of data traffic to the cloud


● Fog computing has millions of nodes, whereas edge computing has billions of nodes

● Edge computing is less scalable than fog computing

● Edge nodes are installed further from the cloud than fog nodes

● Operational costs for fog computing are much lower than edge computing

● Edge computing comes with a high degree of privacy, whereas fog computing can open up an organization to potential security risks

● Edge computing is a subdivision of fog computing, while fog computing is a subset of cloud computing

● Fog computing is effective at filtering out important data from the massive amounts collected, while edge computing is effective at getting devices fast results because it processes data while simultaneously receiving it from the devices

There are some similarities between fog vs. edge computing, but the differences make the two types of computing unique. In essence, fog computing acts as a layer between the edge and the cloud and is most often used for situations like data filtering.

Edge Computing and Fog Computing — Similar, Yet Different

Edge computing and fog computing are different concepts, meaning one cannot take the place of another. Edge computing can work effectively without needing a fog computing layer, but businesses would not be able to use just fog computing for their data management needs. These IT architectures are expected to change how companies handle, process and use their data. They will also open up new opportunities for vendors to provide new solutions for clients.

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