The virtual 5G network brings exponential improvements in speed, latency, and reach.
How can telcos adapt to the unique demands of 5G?
According to the GSMA, the world’s telcos will spend around $1 trillion on 5G launches.
This is the eye-watering cost of building a new kind of network – a ‘cloud-native’ 5G Core that turns (mostly) physical network components into the software.
Happily, there is plenty of upsides going with the CAPEX.
Telcos can harness the extraordinary speed and capacity of 5G to:
• Connect previously ‘unreachable’ subscribers in remote locations
• Support billions of new IoT devices
• Slice up bandwidth so that enterprises can run their own networks
Mobile operators are now investing in non-terrestrial networks (NTN) to ensure 5G reaches into every corner of the earth.
Providers such as Thales are now launching 5G satellites based on the same 3GPP framework as 5G. This will enable NTNs to directly connect 5G devices with no need to update the chipsets inside handsets.
Naturally, these handsets will need dedicated 5G SIMs.
Over previous network generations, the SIM has proved remarkably secure – thanks to a secure element (SE) that can perform strong mutual authentication between the device and the network.
But now, telcos need to tackle the two new 5G trust challenges.
5G challenge #1: Securing the device
Luckily, the new 5G SIM is even safer.
MNOs can anonymise subscriber identities (which were previously transmitted in clear text). They can also securely swap the authentication algorithm contained in the SIM, thanks to key rotation management.
Thales was the first company to offer the 5G SIM, available in all form factors (removable SIM, M2M SIM, eSIM).
So Telcos can count on Thales' technologies to support them.
5G challenge #2: Securing the network
The second part of the 5G trust challenge is securing the network itself.
Thanks to virtualisation, many traditional assumptions around data security are no longer valid.
When a network resides in software, there is a greater danger of cross-contamination and data leakage.
This makes sense if you think about it.
Automation can propagate wrong decisions, malware, and leaked data. This could make it much easier for malicious actors to infiltrate.
And a lot of 5G traffic won’t go to the 5G core. Instead, it will head for the network edge – possibly just a few meters away from where it originated.
Thales offers a range of products to mitigate these risks.
They include :
- Hardware Security Modules (HSM)
- High-Speed Encryption (HSE) solutions.