If you’re unfamiliar with what an edge device in networking is, this guide will help you understand the basics of what they are and how they function.
Many critical components make up a fully functioning industrial network. Among these are edge devices. If you’re unfamiliar with what an edge device in networking is, this guide will help you develop a basic understanding.
What an Edge Device Is
An edge device in the field of networking refers to any piece of hardware that one uses to connect an internal local area network (LAN) to either an external wide area network (WAN) or the internet. Essentially, an edge device serves as an entry or exit point of a network.
Using edge devices, the network can collect data from outside sources and control the flow of data at the boundary, or “edge,” between two networks. To do so, the edge device will provide the local information necessary to an external network. In cases where the networks have different protocols, the edge device is responsible for translating information so that they can connect and share data effectively.
Different Types of Edge Devices
There are numerous types of edge devices. Among the many edge devices, a few that modern network infrastructures often employ include:
- Routers: One of the most common types of edge devices are routers, which are highly intelligent and complex networking devices that forward and direct data packets between two or more networks.
- Switches: Though many people view them as interchangeable with routers, switches and routers are two different and distinct devices. A networking switch is essentially a device that receives and forwards data to the desired destination in a network using packet switching.
- Firewalls: Firewalls function on the periphery of a network and are responsible for filtering data transferred between an internal and external network. As such, they classify as an edge device.
- IoT Gateways: Internet of Things gateway devices are responsible for connecting IoT devices, sensors, and other devices to the cloud. Because all the data that moves from an IoT device to the cloud passes through the IoT gateway, it qualifies as an edge-level device.
These are just a few of the many different types of edge devices. We hope this quick and simple guide on what an edge device in networking is provided you with a helpful introduction to the world of edge devices.