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How Does Edge Switch Make an Importance in Edge Network?

Updated on Jun 27, 2022
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As an important edge device in edge networks, edge switches have also drawn extensive attention to the development of edge computing in data center networks. Many companies began to build data centers closer to users, using edge switches to build network architectures for aggregating user data, reducing the pressure on data centers and gaining more response time. This article will focus on the application of edge switches in edge networks.

Why Are Edge Switches Getting Popular?

To know the application of edge switches in edge networks, we first need to understand what edge networks are. The so-called edge network is located at the network access layer close to the user end and is used to aggregate the local area network. This facilitates content caching, storage, IoT management, and service delivery to improve transfer rates and response times. However, creating an edge network in a data center needs to be done by decentralizing the data center and using intelligent means and services provided by cloud computing.

Edge switches, called access nodes or service nodes, are located between two network intersections, responsible for connecting the end-user LAN to the Internet service provider network. Typically, the edge switch is closer to the client machines than the core network and has a multi-service unit, which means it supports a variety of communication technologies, including integrated services digital network (ISDN), T1 circuits, frame relay, and ATM. It can effectively alleviate network problems in the edge network and bring better network experience to end users.

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What Basic Performance Does the Edge Switch Have?

Edge switches need to be able to deliver content and services with minimal latency processing data closest to the source of the data, which is usually used to describe "access" switches. Therefore, for the selection of a suitable edge switch, you need to fully understand the specifications and basic performance of the edge switch.

Edge switches provide only a single connection for a single user and also need to support multi-user connections, which means that edge switches are used for high-density ports that would otherwise significantly increase device management complexity. Of course, user data and devices are constantly growing, and the scalability of the edge switch is one of the essential basic performance.

In terms of other application technologies, edge switches must support efficient forwarding rates and bandwidth aggregation requirements such as VLAN, Fast Ethernet/Gigabit Ethernet, PoE, link aggregation, ACL, and even port security, stacking, or MLAG. These can better ensure network stability and manageability. As a data center high-performance switch, redundancy is also very important, with conventional features such as redundant power supplies and hot-swappable cooling fans.

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Deployment of Edge Switches in the Data Center

Latency or inefficient transmission is primarily caused by the physical distance of data transmission, the number of bounced network connections, and the total traffic congestion on the network. Edge data centers, to handle those issues, enable high-speed, low-latency processing of applications and data, and reduce congestion and resource allocation in centralized core data centers. Based on this feature, the performance deployment of edge switches in edge networks becomes especially important.

Distribution Layer and Edge Switch Association

In large edge data centers, an additional switching layer will exist for aggregating edge switches, called the distribution layer. Its role is to simplify cabling and network management, acquiring the uplinks of the edge switches and aggregating them into higher-speed links. If the edge switch enables a single wiring closet to have only one redundant uplink, then the distribution layer is usually set up next to the edge core switches. If the edge switch itself creates multiple redundant uplinks, then an aggregation layer can be set next to it. The principle is that the aggregation layer connects to the uplink of the edge switch and through the uplink to the distribution layer of the edge core switches.

Interconnection Between Edge Switches and Core Layer

A core switch is a high-capacity switch that acts as the core of a network and is considered a backbone device that is critical to the successful operation of the network. It acts as a gateway to a wide area network (WAN) or the Internet, so you can use it to connect to servers, and Internet service providers (ISPs). Core switches aggregate all switches, including edge switches. In a public WAN, edge core switches are interconnected with edge switches located at the edge of the associated network. Edge switches aggregate end-user data and forward data traffic to edge core switches. Hence, the internal capacity of an edge switch is typically smaller than that of a core switch.

In many data centers, the distribution layer is being phased out and replaced by direct connections from the edge switches to the core switches. Since large data centers require very high performance, the network manager will design a non-blocking fabric. At this time, considering the high-speed connectivity of the links, you can avoid data load and cabling problems caused by low link rates by utilizing edge switches that provide 40G and 100G links.

The Future Landscape of the Edge Switches

Today, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, machine learning, digital twins, and edge computing are fueling the growth of edge data centers. And with edge technology today complemented by new advances such as 5G, digital twins, and cloud-based applications, datasets, and hybrid phases, enterprises are also focusing considerably on edge technology, which means the rise of the edge devices market. As a key device in the edge network, edge switches should have high-density ports, scalability, and multiple protocol technologies to develop more intelligently to accommodate the growing end-user data.

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