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IoT, 5G, Automation & Security: The Impact of New Technologies for Asia's Leading Operators

Brian Washburn, for Ovum
Partner Perspectives
Brian Washburn, for Ovum
7/25/2018
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How are Asia's telcos working through the rapid succession of new networking technologies? Where are they in this journey today, and where do they expect to be in the foreseeable future? This is the central theme explored in the webinar "How 5G, Automation and Security Are Impacting the Transformation Strategies of Leading Asian Operators," based on market research and discussions with key telco executives from around the region. The webinar, presented by subject-matter experts from leading technology vendor F5 Networks and industry analyst firm Ovum, explores the relationships between the Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G wireless; how 5G is among the drivers of network functions virtualization (NFV); and how security and automation are evolving with new technologies that change network infrastructure, network services, and applications delivery.

In IoT, the webinar finds Asia already has a fast-growing IoT market in terms of connections. But the growth of connections, and an overall hunger for more bandwidth, potentially may cause a range of issues for operators. One issue is security: unsecured, compromised IoT devices fuel the world's largest distributed denial-of-service attacks. Another growing concern is the sheer number of devices. When too many devices collect unexpectedly in one place, demands on bandwidth and on control traffic may overwhelm the network.

The webinar sees 5G answering the demands on bandwidth, performance, and traffic management. 5G takes advantage of network virtualization, distributes cloud at the wireless edge, and adds network slicing for traffic control. 5G's services-based architecture is suited for application delivery and lets operators create, implement, modify, and reabsorb new service packages faster and at lower costs, meaning less risk.

The presenters also note that 5G trials and proofs of concept have already been widespread in Asia. Some operators in Asia have already begun deploying 5G infrastructure to prepare for mainstream commercial launches starting 2019. Aspects of 5G such as edge computing and network slicing remain in trial stages. Here, operators are still looking to understand the customer base and revenue opportunity.

The presenters also see that NFV has already quietly spread among operators. Across Asia, the annual spend on NFV technology and services is estimated to reach billions of US dollars in both wireline and wireless for 2018. These investments are in wireless virtualized evolved packet core, for upgrades and conversions for a range of internal functions, and for assembling commercial NFV services. As with the other new technologies, NFV requires new approaches to security. A cloud-based network stack introduces potentially more attack vectors, reaching from the hardware itself across cloud layers, network functions, management, and orchestration.

Summary
Operators across Asia are already all-in with IoT; they are working toward 5G deployment and are taking advantage of the versatility of NFV. The challenge, especially for national or smaller operators, is keeping track of the many concurrent technology changes. Tracking the latest in each technology area, and its relationship to other technologies, is quite involved. Here, a trusted partner can help. This is especially important for security, where investments made to protect assets should have positive effects for the network, but also for customers and even on the regulatory front.

A replay of the full webinar "How 5G, Automation and Security Are Impacting the Transformation Strategies of Leading Asian Operators," presented by F5 Networks and Ovum, can be found here (registration required): https://www.lightreading.com/webinar.asp?webinar_id=1235

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