The functions and boundaries of the network and terminals will continue to merge.
Editor’s note: This article is from WeChat public account “Morning Hill Capital” (ID: Chenshancapital), author Ma Wei.
Under the trend of continuous evolution of communications and the emergence of applications, networks and terminals have gradually separated from the traditional binary system. Some network functions are sinking, and some functions of terminals are gradually moving up.
We can see that in some specific scenarios, the terminal side has rich and powerful computing storage capacity, and the demand for network functions is correspondingly weakened. In other scenarios, the network side also has efficient computing power and excellent resiliency, and the specific functions reduce the terminal requirements.
With the development of 5G networks and the development of edge computing, we expect that the functions and boundaries of networks and terminals will continue to merge.
This article focuses on the evolution of the fat and thin terminal business form to understand the possible future development of the edge network.
Definition of fat terminal and thin terminal
A typical computer communication system generally uses a server-client architecture. In the traditional PC era, computers often exist as a client. This client has more local storage and computing power. The device is often referred to as the Fat Client (Rich / Thick Client); correspondingly, if the device configuration is relatively thin, mainly for the client entity that displays and low power functions, it is called Thin Client.
In fact, the term “terminal” currently covers far more than the traditional meaning of the client, has been extended to any “near-field” end of the entity, including common consumer electronics products, video surveillance equipment, IoT system equipment, Various forms of communication or functional entities such as the car system module.
There is no standard definition of fat and thin “terminal”. Returning to the essence, the difference mainly comes from hardware and application:
Fat terminal: For a more extreme example, a fat terminal device has its own hard disk, RAM, and control computing unit. By installing full-fledged OS, it can run calculation and storage programs, and even have near-field AI computing power. Has complete computing power. The need for such a device for the network is to obtain connections, data, and services, as needed.
Thin terminal: Another extreme example is that a terminal has only the most basic hardware facilities and a lightweight light OS. All its functions must be implemented through the network/cloud. The terminal itself usually only has the basics. Display or primary computing storage function.
A simple comparison is as follows:
▲ Morning Mountain Capital
Faive scene of fat and thin terminal and edge
Jobs first proposed the concept of fat network (cloud service) + fat terminal (Rich Client): by introducing cloud services to move some of the computing power up, split the functional entities into smaller services, through more The server’s powerful search and analysis capabilities push the final desired results to the terminal, such as the Siri service. On the other hand, Apple has continuously improved the computing and communication capabilities of the machine through the iterative and end-to-end applications of the chip.
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And with the power of the cloud, the net