Innovation
Cloud computing hype being challenged by fog
By Michael Hennigan, Finfacts founder and editor
May 22, 2014 - 3:24 AM

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Cloud computing has generated a lot of hype in recent years and the proliferation of smartphone and tablets devices has made many people aware of storage in a 'cloud' but as the use of remote computing grows, the limitations are becoming more obvious and Cisco, the internet infrastructure firm, is promoting what its calls fog computing.

Christopher Mims, the new technology columnist of The Wall Street Journal who joined from Quartz, in his first column this week writes that whereas the cloud is "up there" in the sky somewhere, distant and remote and deliberately abstracted, the "fog" is close to the ground, right where things are getting done.

Mims says there is a problem with bandwidth and the limitations of wireless and 3G/ 4G mobile networks - - as any smartphone owner who uses a 'personal hotspot' knows.  

Cisco sees a solution in not powerful servers, but weaker and more dispersed computers of the type that are being developed for appliances, factories, cars, street lights and "every other piece of our material culture."

New commercial aircraft alone generate a huge amount of data and Christopher Mims concludes: "Until the US gets the fast wireless and wired Internet it deserves, computing things as close to the user as possible is going to be critical to making the Internet of Things responsive enough to be usable."

Fog computing is described here and here [pdf] by Cisco. 


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