What's new in 5G network architecture?

Filip Chytrý 29 Sep 2020

Key advancements in the network architecture of 5G mean services with added value for operators and users alike

This is truly an exciting time for all of us here at Avast 5G connectivity is undoubtedly here and will be a key way users connect to the digital world.

As we begin to see the benefits of 5G become leveraged throughout myriad verticals, ranging from handset device makers to autonomous cars, it’s important to understand how key advancements that make up the next iteration of cellular network standards will allow us to reimagine the ways in which we consume services. More importantly, how one of the key beneficiaries of 5G the average-day user can stay protected from the inevitable uncertainties and vulnerabilities that come along with everything that's new.

Here's the good news for the average-day user: There isn’t much to do much to become protected in a 5G landscape. Much of the security and privacy stewardship will fall onto network operators, who have the ability to offer security and privacy instantaneously for 5G-enabled mobile devices. Users will just need to make sure their devices are 5G-enabled and that the network operator they’ve subscribed to has an edge-based security and privacy solution.

The role of NFV

Much of the network operator’s ability to provide this new wave of security and privacy comes from network function virtualization (NFV), a concept of abstracting network function architecture that is traditionally built on physical hardware onto virtualized software. By virtualizing the network infrastructure, virtual network functions (VNF) can make computations for the variety of services (such as load balancing, firewalls, security, and privacy controls) take place remotely at the edge cloud.

Data computation at the edge cloud will reduce response times and bandwidth needs, bringing way for new value-added services operators can offer to customers, such as an always-on and instantaneous security and privacy solution.

Glossary of terms

To make things more straightforward, we've put together a glossary of terms for readers who are committed to staying up to date on all things 5G.

  • 5G: The latest iteration of cellular network standards, which includes a spectrum with a range of radio frequencies in the sub-6 GHz range.

  • NFV: Network function virtualization is the process of abstracting network functions from traditional hardware into virtualized software, allowing the network to scale as the network architecture becomes virtualized.

  • VNF: Virtual network functions are software containers that run on top of a NFV infrastructure, carrying out a variety of services (e.g. load balancing, firewalls or security and parental controls).

  • Edge cloud: Computation done remotely at the edges of the network. The closer proximity to the location of the device(s) in use brings improved response times and reduced bandwidth needs.

  • Telco/ISP: The company that owns and provides the private 5G network for users to connect devices to.

As the diagram above suggests, Avast Smart Life is a VNF that sits on an operator’s edge cloud and allows for data traffic to be analyzed in real time for threat anomalies. For the everyday user, this means digital protection at the network level, irrespective of the operating system or location of the device security and privacy controls can be configured and enabled for any specific user and their profile of devices.

For the network operator, this can be an effortless, value-added service in providing a delightful experience for customers, all the while increasing ARPU, brand reputation and customer loyalty.

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