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.
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
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 [pdf] by Cisco.