Network Edge Device
Edge devices are so much more than pieces of hardware, and with the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing, they are more important than ever. Edge devices have many purposes, but at their core, they serve as entry or exit points and control the flow of data at the boundary or perimeter between two networks. For networks that use different protocols, edge devices also provide traffic translation in addition to connectivity.

Edge Device use cases

While edge devices are primarily used by enterprises and service providers to connect an internal local area network (LAN) to the Internet or an external wide area network (WAN), edge devices and edge computing have evolved to provide more advanced capabilities. Such capabilities might include wireless access points (APs), security through wireless APs or virtual private network (VPN) servers, dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP) services, and domain name system (DNS) services.

Types of edge devices

One of the most common types of edge devices is an edge router. Usually deployed to connect a campus network to the internet or a WAN, edge routers chiefly function as gateways between networks. A similar type of edge device, known as a routing switch, can also be used for this purpose, although routing switches typically offer less-comprehensive features than full-fledged routers.

A firewall controls the data that is allowed to enter and exit a network infrastructure according to predefined rules. Firewalls inspect data packets, looking for anything that raises suspicion, then discard any packets containing potential threats. Firewalls are a primary line of defense at the network edge, keeping threats from entering or exiting.

A router transmits packets of data between two different networks. This traffic includes the content of websites as well as communications like video chat, email, and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) transmissions. Routers direct traffic on the internet, sending it from one point to another, allowing different edge devices to communicate with each other.

A network switch connects devices within a computer network through packet switching, which receives data then forwards it to the device for which it is intended. A switch allows edge devices to interact and share resources without using devices at the core

An IAD converts different types of data input and renders them into a common format. For example, an IAD is used to convert analogue and digital phone signals into one common digital signal. IADs help simplify communications and enable more efficient transmission at the edge

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