Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Blueprint Column: Five Big Themes at RSA 2014

by John Trobough, president at Narus

Now that RSA is underway I wanted to take some time to cover five key themes being talked about at the event.

Machine Learning

Machine Learning is at the top of my list.  As the frequency of attacks, the sophistication of the intrusions, and the number of new networked applications increase, analysts cannot keep up with the volume, velocity, and variety of data.

The use of machine learning is gaining critical mass fueled by the bring your own device (BYOD) and Internet of Things (IOT) trends. This technology can crunch large data sets, adapt with experience, and quickly generate insight or derive meaning from the data. With machine assistance, analysts spend less time on data-processing duties, and focus more time on problem solving and defense bolstering activities. Machine learning brings new insights to network activity and malicious behavior, and is accelerating the time to resolve cyber threats.

Data Visualization

The historic and rudimentary approach of taking tabular data and presenting it in colorful pie charts and graphs does not deliver insight. According to ESG research, 44 percent of organizations classify their current security data collection as “big data” and another 44 percent expect to classify their data collection and analysis as “big data” within the next two years.  With the explosive growth of volume and variety of data, analysts are experiencing cognitive overload. Their brains cannot process information fast enough. The challenge is to display insight and conclusions from data analysis in a clear way to facilitate rapid response.

Symbolic representations, like visual threat fingerprints, will be required for quick interpretation and comparison before diving into details. Data visualization design will need to incorporate best practices including:
Context-aware controls, that appear only when required
Seamless integration, providing flow from one task to the next without assumed knowledge about the source of the data
Human factor principles, to display data, analysis, and controls in ways that enhance clarity and usability.


According to Gartner, the use of context-aware security helps security technologies become more accurate and enhance usability and adoption in response to cyber threats.

If we define context as the information required to answer the questions “what,” “how” and “why,” context will provide the understanding needed to better assess the threats and resolve them faster.

The advancements made in data visualization enable organizations to determine when something isn’t right on their network. Context takes this further by allowing organizations to determine what their network activity is supposed to look like and how data visualization and context fit together.

Internet of Things (IoT)

Connected devices have become a hot and desirable trend. ABI Research estimates there will be more than 30 billion wirelessly connected devices by 2020. This machine-to-machine (M2M) conversation offers new opportunities for innovation, generates a plethora of new data streams and also creates new threat vectors.

Today, there is a desire for deeper connectivity in the workplace and home. For the business, IoT provides a range of benefits, from increasing operational efficiency to better managing resources and expanding existing business models.  As for the consumer, IoT assists with safety, health, everyday planning and more.

However, all this connectivity compounds security challenges. It’s one thing for your refrigerator to tell you you’re out of milk, but it’s quite another for hackers to use refrigerators to access your network and steal your data or initiate attacks on other networks.

Consumerization of Security

It’s no longer just about the impact that weak security has on the enterprise but also how it is affecting consumers. More and more people are producing and storing their own data and creating their own private clouds, but are still in the dark about how to properly protect it.

According to cybersecurity expert Peter W. Singer, it’s not just weak passwords, such as “password” and “123456” that cybercriminals are after. Usually, cybercriminals are after the ability to change a password with information acquired from public records (i.e. mother’s maiden name). With sophisticated threats looming all over the web, it’s only a matter of time before most consumers are faced with a stiff test on protecting their digital assets.

As consumers become more conscious of security and privacy issues, they will want to know how to prevent their identity from being stolen with just a click of a mouse. Many consumers will turn to the vendors, including retail and banking, for answers, and many vendors will turn to security providers.

Our Opportunities and Challenges

The security landscape faces a future of tremendous growth. More than ever, security is underlying all business practices. In a digital economy where connected devices are everything, security is critical and cannot be an afterthought. Security is not something that you layer on. Instead we should assume we will face a threat and be prepared to respond. While there will be many conversations happening at RSA on a multitude of other security topics, you can be sure these five themes will be heard loud and clear.

About the Author

John Trobough is president of Narus, Inc., a subsidiary of The Boeing Company (NYSE: BA).  Trobough previously was president of Teleca USA, a leading supplier of software services to the mobile device communications industry and one of the largest global Android commercialization partners in the Open Handset Alliance (OHA). He also held executive positions at Openwave Systems, Sylantro Systems, AT&T and Qwest Communications.

About the Company

Narus, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA), is a pioneer in cybersecurity data analytics. The company's patented advanced analytics help enterprises, carriers and government customers proactively identify and accelerate the resolution of cyber threats. Using incisive intelligence culled from visual interactive and underlying data analytics, Narus nSystem identifies, predicts and characterizes the most advanced security threats, giving executives the visibility and context they need to make the right security decisions, right now, by letting them know what’s happening, why, and what to do about it. And because Narus solutions are scalable and deployable to any network configuration or business process, Narus boosts the ROI from existing IT investments. Narus is a U.S.-based company, incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif. (U.S.A.), with regional offices around the world.

Blueprint Column: Making 5G A Reality

By Alan Carlton, Senior Director Technology Planning for InterDigital

By now we’ve all heard many conversations around 5G, but it seems that everyone is pretty much echoing the same thing—it won’t be here until 2025ish. And I agree. But it also seems that no one is really addressing how it will be developed. What should we expect in the next decade? What needs to be done in order for 5G to be a reality? And which companies will set themselves apart from others as leaders in the space?  

I don’t think the future just suddenly happens like turning a corner and magically a next generation appears. There are always signs and trends along the way that provide directional indicators as to how the future will likely take shape. 5G will be no different than previous generations whose genesis was seeded in societal challenges and emerging technologies often conceived or identified decades earlier. 

5G wireless will be driven by more efficient network architectures to support an internet of everything, smarter and new approaches to spectrum usage, energy centric designs and more intelligent strategies applied to the handling of content based upon context and user behaviors. From these perspective technologies/trends like the Cloud, SDN, NFV, CDN (in the context of a greater move to Information Centric Networking), Cognitive Radio and Millimeter Wave all represent interesting first steps on the roadmap to 5G. 

5G Requirements and Standards

 The requirements of what makes a network 5G are still being discussed, however, the best first stab at such requirements is reflected in the good work of the 5GPPP (in Horizon 2020).  Some of the requirements that have been suggested thus far have included:

  • Providing 1000 times higher capacity and more varied rich services compared to 2010
  • Saving 90 percent energy per service provided
  • Orders of magnitude reductions in latency to support new applications
  • Service creation from 90 hours to 90 minutes 
  • Secure, reliable and dependable: perceived zero downtime for services
  • User controlled privacy

But besides requirements, developing a standardization process for 5G will also have a significant impact in making 5G a reality. While the process has not yet begun, it is very reasonable to say that as an industry we are at the beginning of what might be described as a consensus building phase.

If we reflect on wireless history seminal moments, they may be where the next “G” began. The first GSM networks rolled out in the early 1990’s but its origins may be traced back as far as 1981 (and possibly earlier) to the formation of Groupe Sp├ęcial Mobile by CEPT. 3G and 4G share a similar history where the lead time between conceptualization and realization has been roughly consistent at the 10 year mark. This makes the formation of 5G focused industry and academic efforts such as the 5GPPP (in Horizon 2020) and the 5GIC (at the University of Surrey) in 2013/14 particularly interesting.

Assuming history repeats itself, these “events” may be foretelling of when we might realistically expect to see 5G standards and later deployed 5G systems. Components of 5G Technology 5G will bring profound changes on the both network and air interface components of the current wireless systems architecture. On the air interface we see three key tracks:

  • The first track might be called the spectrum sharing and energy efficiency track wherein a new, more sophisticated mechanism of dynamically sharing spectrum between players emerges. Within this new system paradigm and with the proliferation of IoT devices and services, it is quite reasonable to discuss new and more suitable waveforms. 
  • A second track that we see is the move to the leveraging of higher frequencies, so called mmW applications in the 60GHz bands and above. If 4G was the era of discussing the offloading of Cellular to WiFi, 5G may well be the time when we talk of offloading WiFi to mmW in new small cell and dynamic backhaul designs. 
  • A final air interface track that perhaps bridges both air interface and network might be called practical cross layer design. Context and sensor fusion are key emerging topics today and I believe that enormous performance improvements can be realized through tighter integration of this myriad of information with the operation of the protocols on the air interface. 

While real infinite bandwidth to the end user may still remain out of reach in even the 5G timeframe, through these mechanisms it may be possible to deliver a perception of infinite bandwidth in a very real sense to the user. By way of example, in some R&D labs today organizations have developed a technology called user adaptive video. This technology selectively chooses the best video streams that should be delivered to an end user based upon user behavior in front of the viewing screen. With this technology today bandwidth utilization has improved 80 percent without any detectable change in quality of experience perceived by the end user. 

5G’s Impact on the Network

 5G will be shaped by a mash up (and evolution) of three key emerging technologies: Software Defined Networking, Network Function Virtualization and an ever deeper Content caching in the network as exemplified by the slow roll of CDN technology into GGSN  equipment today (i.e. the edge of the access network!). This trend will continue deeper into the radio access network and, in conjunction with the other elements, create a perfect storm where an overhaul to the IP network becomes possible. Information Centric Networking is an approach that has been incubating in academia for many years whose time may now be right within these shifting sands. 

 Overall, the network will flatten further and a battle for where the intelligence resides either in the cloud or the network edges will play out with the result likely being a compromise between the two. Device-to-Device communications in a fully meshed virtual access resource fabric will become common place within this vision. The future may well be as much about the crowd as the cloud. If the cloud is about big data then the crowd will be about small data and the winners may well be the players who first recognize the value that lies here. Services in this new network will change. A compromise will be struck between the OTT and Carrier worlds and any distinction between the two will disappear. Perhaps, more than anything else 5G must deliver in this key respect.   

Benefits and Challenges of 5G

 Even the most conservative traffic forecast projections through 2020 will challenge the basic capabilities and spectrum allocations of LTE-A and current generation WiFi. Couple this with a recognition that energy requirements in wireless networks will spiral at the same rate as the traffic projections and add the chaos of the emergence of the 50 or 100 billion devices - the so called Internet of Everything - all connected to a common infrastructure, and the value of exploring a 5th Generation should quickly become apparent. 

The benefits of 5G at the highest level will simply be the sustaining of the wireless vision for our connected societies and economies in a cost effective and energy sustainable manner into the next decade and beyond.

 However, 5G will likely roll out into a world of considerably changed business models from its predecessor generations and this raises perhaps the greatest uncertainty and challenge. What will these business models look like? It is clear that today’s model where Carriers finance huge infrastructure investments but reap less of the end customer rewards is unsustainable over the longer term. Some level of consolidation will inevitably happen but 5G will also have to provide a solution for a more equitable sharing of the infrastructure investment costs. Just how these new business models take shape and how this new thinking might drive technological development is perhaps the greatest uncertainty and challenge for 5G development.

 While the conversations around 5G continue to grow, there is still a long way to go before reaching full scale deployment. While we may be looking farther down the line, the development is already in place and companies are already starting to do research and development into areas that might be considered foundational in helping 5G prevail. WiFi in white space is an early embodiment of a new more efficient spectrum utilization approach that is highly likely to be adopted in a more mainstream manner in 5G. More than this, companies are also exploring new waveforms (new proverbial 4 letter acronyms that often characterize a technology generation) that outperform LTE “OFDM” in both energy efficiency, operation in new emerging dynamic spectrum sharing paradigms and also in application to the emerging challenges that the internet of things will bring.

About the Author 

Alan Carlton is the senior director of technology planning for InterDigital where he is responsible for the vision, technology roadmap and strategic planning in the areas of mobile devices, networking technologies, applications & software services. One of his primary focus areas is 5G technology research and development. Alan has over 20 years of experience in the wireless industry.

Deutsche Telekom Drives Network Transformation

Deutsche Telekom is moving as quickly as possible to retire its legacy PSTN and go entirely IP, with the goal of having around 8 million IP-based lines across its footprint in Europe by the end of 2014 and the entire project completed in 2018. It's long term goal is an IP network that integrates mobile and fixed lines across all the European markets in which it operates.

In presentations at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Deutsche Telekom executives said this network transformation will also leverage network virtualization technology for service agility and reduced operating costs.

“The growing traffic demands by new mobile access technologies including machine-to-machine and real-time applications require a holistic network approach to improve capacity, efficiency and manage the best-possible customer experience,” said Claudia Nemat. "Innovation in networks is invisible, but customers feel the benefits. It's a revolution that is as radical as the transition from horse and carriage to car."

In mobile, Deutsche Telekom has now launched LTE in almost all of its markets. By 2016, Deutsche Telekom will be able to provide LTE to its customers at every second base station across Europe.

“We don’t only have the expansion of network coverage in mind; we also want to keep increasing the speed of connections. That’s why we’re carrying out tests in Germany, among other places, to see how we can provide customers with data as fast as possible through LTE Advanced,” said Claudia Nemat. “Today I can say that we have reached a point in the LTE rollout in Germany where our customers can use LTE in over 150 cities with speeds up to 150 Mbps,” added Niek Jan van Damme. 300 Mbps will be the next milestone. In a test last week in the German city of Alzey Deutsche Telekom reached even speeds of up to 580 Mbps using LTE-A 4x4 MIMO.

Deutsche Telekom also presented a hybrid router that combines fixed network, LTE and WiFi technologies so as to bundle, concentrate and distribute bandwidth in consumer homes. This project is expected to launch by the end of 2014.


Small Cell Forum Launches Release Three

The Small Cell Forum announced Release 3.0 -- a set of documents aimed at identifying demand and supporting operators in the deployment of urban small cells. The 18 documents in the newly published release covers market drivers, business cases, service opportunities and technical overviews in areas such as self-organizing networks, backhaul, Wi-Fi integration and network architecture as well as regulatory challenges and deployment processes. The package also contains substantial content in support of residential, urban and rural small cell deployments.

“Release Three focuses on establishing the need, evaluating the business case and identifying key barriers to commercial deployment of urban small cells. In Release Four and beyond, we will delve into the detail of the technical solutions that will speed deployments in this exciting new market," stated Gordon Mansfield, Chairman of the Small Cell Forum.

“The Small Cell Forum unequivocally believes the case for urban small cells to be a strong one. But small cells cannot meet growing user demand quickly and efficiently without practical and informed support and guidance. That is why Release Three is so important. I believe small cells will have a pivotal role for operators in viable network densification — the development of HetNets that efficiently and cost-effectively combine macro and small cell rollout.”


Huawei Announces Ultra Wideband Active Antenna

Huawei announced an ultra wideband AAU (Active Antenna Unit) that employs SDBTM (Software-Defined Band) technology for band-programmability.

The AAU leverages optimized algorithms, high-performance radio frequency (RF) chipsets, and significantly enhanced RF module integration. It supports 4 * 4 MIMO and carrier aggregation LTE-Advanced technologies, which can improve up to 90% network capacity.

Huawei said that compared with industry similar AAU products, the product has higher integration level and supports software define band which further reducing module quantity on sites. It features smaller in size, lighter in weight and easy installation thus reduces over 60% installation time which facilitated fast deployment of network.

Wang Tao, President of Huawei Wireless Networking Business Unit, said: "Ultra wideband AAU is an important part of Huawei "SDBTM" portfolio. From SDR (Software Defined Radio) to SDBTM, Huawei keeps leading in wireless technology development. Spectrum is the most important asset of operators. Flexible configuration and efficient use of the spectrums is the direction of next-generation RF technology. Huawei will launch series ultra wideband products which help operators simplify deployment and enhance MBB network capacity."


Huawei and Vodafone Announce FDD and TDD Carrier Aggregation

Huawei and Vodafone announced the first implementation of LTE-Advanced FDD+TDD Convergence Carrier Aggregation (CA).

At Mobile World Congress, the companies said their prototype achieved a single user peak downlink speed of more than 500 Mbps. The demonstration involved 3 FDD carriers and 1 TDD carrier.

Vodafone currently has 800MHz, 1800MHz, and 2600MHz, a total of 50MHz spectrum bandwidth in FDD mode and 20MHz of 2600MHz in TDD
mode in Spain. This latest breakthrough in FDD+TDD Carrier Aggregation technology will boost Vodafone’s network capacity in the country and enable the operator to have more flexibility in deploying 2CC and 3CC CA solutions in the future.

Vodafone first rolled out its 1800MHz and 2600MHz commercial LTE services in the main cities of Spain at the beginning of 2013, with a peak speed of 150Mbps/user.


Narus Accelerates Cyber Threat Assessment for Enterprises

Narus introduced new tools to accelerate the time it takes for enterprise security teams to resolve cyber threats.  Once network administrators suspect an attack, current practices can take days or weeks to isolate the breach and understand its implications.

The next generation of the Narus nSystem enables organizations to build “zero trust” networks and take a proactive approach to cybersecurity.

The system provides visibility, advance warning and data modeling to help teams understand and make informed security decisions quickly. It can identify over half a million applications (including mobile)and deliver visualizations to put the observed activity in context.

“Enterprises with cloud, mobile and big data initiatives know that security remains their biggest risk and roadblock to success,” said John Trobough, president, Narus. “Narus is experienced in equipping security teams with the necessary tools to help protect and maximize return on their existing IT investments. We enable enterprises to shift their security posture from being defensive and reactionary to being proactive. Powered by the innovation in machine learning and cognitive research, Narus nSystem greatly enriches context and visibility, allowing enterprises to speed up response time and adopt a proactive approach to cybersecurity.”


Infonetics: Challenges for Outdoor Small Cell Rollouts

A survey of 20 incumbent, independent wireless, competitive, and cable operators conducted by Infonetics Research reveals numerous challenges in the rollout of outdoor small cells, including:

  • Operators are finding that outdoor small cell deployments are more expensive than anticipated: more respondents now expect the 5-year TCO ratio of a small cell deployment to be 25% of a typical macrocell deployment, up from 10% in Infonetics' 2012 survey
  • There is a big opportunity for point-to-multipoint (P2MP) backhaul topology in dense urban areas, but there are only a few manufacturers shipping P2MP products today: BluWan, Cambridge Broadband, and Intracom
  • 1/4 of operators surveyed indicated they will use software-defined networking (SDN) in outdoor small cell backhaul networks by 2016 or later
  • Downstream bandwidth capacity is a top service-level agreement (SLA) metric for backhaul services supporting LTE and LTE-Advanced (LTE-A)

Infonetics is predicting that operators will spend $3.6 billion on outdoor small cell backhaul equipment over the five years from 2013 to 2017, down from earlier forecasts based on operator plans.

"2013 was supposed to be the year for greater deployments of outdoor small cells, but installations haven’t proceeded as quickly as operators expected. It’s no picnic out there for operators. Costs are higher than anticipated, and many challenges remain difficult to solve, including siting, jurisdictional issues, unsettled local regulations, power availability, copper and fiber availability, small cell packaging with or without backhaul, just-coming-available technologies and products, and backhaul connections. Not to mention the coordination of small cells with WiFi or nearby macrocells over new types of backhaul that must support strict timing, sync, and latency requirements for LTE and LTE-Advanced in the future,” explains Michael Howard, co-founder and principal analyst for carrier networks at Infonetics Research.


IBM Boosts Data Breach Detection Capabilities

IBM is boosting its security solutions to help organizations to reduce detection time for security breaches and investigate these threats before they can significantly impact the business.

IBM Security QRadar Incident Forensics, a new software product designed as a module for the QRadar Security Intelligence Platform, can help security teams retrace the step-by-step actions of sophisticated cyber criminals.  By adding this forensics capture and search module to its QRadar Security Intelligence platform, IBM can further strengthen its clients' abilities to efficiently investigate security incidents and understand the impact of any suspicious activity. QRadar Incident Forensics provides a record of activity on the network, enabling organizations to retrace suspicious activity, provide alerts to growing concerns, and provide forensics search capabilities.

According to a newly released IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Quarterly Report, in 2013, more than half a billion records of personally identifiable information were leaked through a number of attacks against  strategic targets.

"Every breach is a race against time. This new forensics module further expands the breadth and depth of IBM's security intelligence capabilities," said Brendan Hannigan, general manager of IBM Security Systems.  "QRadar Incident Forensics further helps IT staff prevent emerging threats and better determine the impact of any intrusion."