LTE SPECIAL REPORT 2014: A value-added tack, part V – LTE security solutions

07 April 2014 | Guy Matthews


Carriers must play their part in enabling new revenue streams for LTE networks, based around a mix of value-added services. Capacity investigates.

Continued from LTE SPECIAL REPORT 2014: A value-added tack, part IV – LTE and M2M

LTE security solutions

LTE provides broadband-style connectivity to devices, making them like a regular personal computer, except a personal computer that is always on and able to receive rich content. This facet of LTE naturally has security consequences.

“There have always been security issues with Wifi, but LTE’s are larger,” believes Dr Hongwen Zhang, CEO of Wedge Networks and co-chair of the Cloud Ethernet Forum’s security initiative. “There are also new usage patterns with LTE, for example with its use in M2M. It’s harder to install security protection on a phone than a PC, and impossible on a connected machine like a car or a fridge.”

These security issues are an opportunity for the operator to sell services that are secure, ensuring clean traffic on the network, he says.

“The service provider can help see that no malicious code flows to the device, plus no confidential information flows out without the user’s permission,” Zhang suggests.

The service provider’s key ally here is its carrier partner. With LTE, carriers have the power to ensure that their backbone is clean, using this fact to differentiate themselves and become more attractive to service provider customers.

“The service provider moving to LTE is asking where the security goes, especially in a virtualised world,” says Juniper’s Shaw. “Carriers can turn this into a service, so that enterprises, service providers and others can pay to get their users secure access to data.”

Carriers looking to play a leading role in LTE security will benefit from the IPsec standard, as encapsulated in IPv6. This makes it easier to secure the backhaul segment of an LTE network, with its open Ethernet and IP interfaces and protocols. IPsec should help close the security shortfall that naturally follows on from the migration from TDM to IP. Carriers will also need to ensure that backhaul platforms are as cost-effective as they are secure.

To read part VI – Video over LTE – click here.