Telecommunications Articles

Open RAN May Be the Future of 5G, but Can We Keep It Secure?

Open RAN Security
It's been a year of contradictions for the telecommunications industry. Like most sectors, it has been heavily impacted by the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a slowdown in global 5G roll-outs being a notable result. Geopolitical conflicts have continued to muddy the market, with governments playing a more active role than ever in setting telecoms-centred policy. At the same time, however, the air is thick with promise and opportunity. Over the last nine months, entire organizations have transitioned to remote working and high-bandwidth video communication. Corporations have accelerated digital transformation initiatives. Online shopping has soared. The appetite for autonomous manufacturing and other aspects of Industry 4.0 has grown. The telecoms industry has proven resilient and cemented its status as critical national...

Introduction to 5G Core Service-Based Architecture (SBA) Components

5G SBA IMS MEC Architecture
The interest in 5G and mIoT is exploding. It's exciting to see so many IT and cybersecurity professionals in my network trying to learn more about 5G and related technologies. In addition to my usual articles about the societal impacts of these innovations, I'll start a series of articles introducing key 5G and mIoT technology concepts. Before we move on to technical aspects of 5G security. Let's get started with reviewing the 5G core service-based architecture and learning the first few dozen acronyms, out of approximately a gazillion. The cellular industry loves acronyms. Even more than the cybersecurity industry. 5G architecture is an evolution of current 4G architectures but based on a Service-Based Architecture (SBA). The 3GPP defines the SBA for a...

Will Telcos Lose the Edge Computing Battle as Well?

Edge Computing Fog
For many end-users of today's communications technology, the cloud is a somewhat mystical concept, a digital equivalent of aether. Most think of it as a formless abstraction "up there" when, in fact, the cloud is rooted in the ground. Or the seabed. Despite rapid advances in satellite connection, almost all intercontinental data transfer that takes place every second of the day occurs via hundreds of thousands of miles of underwater cables. Reading a map of these submarine cables is like viewing a tapestry of international telecommunication. It is perhaps strange to think that the email you just sent to your colleague in Africa traveled below the Atlantic Ocean. It's an oddly analogue image in an online world. Yet, the digital capability...

Unlocking the Future – Why Virtualization Is the Key to 5G

5G Virtualization
Depending on who you speak to, 5G is either humankind’s greatest imminent blessing or its greatest imminent curse. Still in its infancy, and not yet commercially standardized, this technology has already been the most polarizing advancement we have ever seen in communication. Consumers worldwide are captivated by promises of super-fast download speeds, split-second responsiveness and next-level mobile phone communication, but are divided on the possible sacrifices of privacy and security. Detractors continue to issue condemnations of 5G cellular’s possible health risks. Supporters continue to shake their heads in disbelief. Governments jostle for geopolitical supremacy; 5G is seen as both a proxy for power, and also a critical infrastructure for the furtherance of national economic interests. Why has 5G been so controversial and...

The Open RAN Lexicon You Need

oran lexicon
The telecoms and digital technologies sectors are notoriously jargonised. Eavesdrop on any conversation at an industry conference (remember those?) and you’d be treated to a parade of acronyms, initialisms and technical terms that would sound like ancient Greek to an outsider. However, with new technologies being developed and deployed at an accelerated rate, staying on top of terminology can be challenging for even seasoned professionals. This is nowhere as apparent as in the evolving debate around Open RAN and its applications. Open RAN and its variations became the next "big thing" in wireless and I thought I'd try and help clarify some of the related terms that often get confused. People often mean different things when they talk about Open RAN....

Collaboration: The Unexpected Key to Success in Canada’s 5G

Canada 5G CA5G
In 1967, Lynn Margulis, a young biologist, published a paper that challenged more than a hundred years of evolutionary theory. It proposed that millions of years ago, the eukaryotes emerged not from competition, as neo-Darwinism asserts, but from collaboration. Margulis’ research showed how single-celled lifeforms working together created an entirely new organism that became the foundation of all advanced life on earth. This was an inflection point in the development of evolutionary biology, shifting the scientific and cultural narrative away from “survival of the fittest” towards “survival of the most cooperative.” Though competition contributes to better individual or organizational performance, it can have the opposite effect on larger systems. In building a world-leading 5G ecosystem in Canada we need to appreciate that...

AI and 5G: AI at the 5G Core – A Double-Edged Sword

AI and 5G Double-edged Sword
If you've ever been to an expensive restaurant and ordered a familiar dish like, say, lasagna, but received a plate with five different elements arranged in a way that does not at all resemble what you know as lasagna, then you have probably tasted deconstructionism. This approach to cuisine aims to challenge the way our brain makes associations, to break existing patterns of interpretation and, in so doing, to release unrealized potential. If the different elements work together harmoniously, it should be the best lasagna you've ever tasted. So it is with 5G. In principle, the 5th Generation network is deconstructed. Firstly, with its Service-Based Architecture (SBA) the core of the network is a mesh of interconnected services, each working independently but...

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