Impressions from MWC Barcelona: 5G is FINALLY here and Security is a Top Concern

After almost five years of talk, 5G is finally arriving. I had an opportunity to attend MWC Barcelona this year, and the innovations and challenges of 5G were on full display. A number of operators announced their 5G launch plans for 2019, and several manufacturers announced 5G handsets. With this backdrop, security is beginning to be top-of-mind in keynotes and other presentations.

GSMA predicts that there will be more than 1.3 billion 5G subscribers by 2025, 25 billion global IoT connections by 2025 and $4.6 trillion of data-driven value creation by 2022. With these numbers, the mobile industry could be considered the world’s 4th largest economy. Incredible! There are more than 8.8 billion mobile connections today contributing to 4.5 percent of the global GDP.

I had many conversations at MWC Barcelona with service providers, partners, press and industry analysts about the challenges ahead for 5G, and how A10 Networks’ security solutions help customers secure their 4G infrastructures and future-proof them for 5G. Here are some of my takeaways from the show and the implications for mobile networks.

Less Artificial. More Intelligent.

This phrase from one of the keynotes captures a recurring theme from the new innovations on display. I was fascinated by the large amount of game developers and car manufacturers making statements about leveraging 5G for a more immersive and extended reality (XR) experience. For example,

These kinds of bleeding-edge services depend on low latency and fast network connections delivered at the edge. In short, the new services are exactly what the mobile 5G network is designed to deliver. This makes securing these networks critical, and this is where A10 Networks comes in.

Operators Step Up to 5G

CEOs of mobile operators including Telefonica, Singtel, Orange, Vodafone and Korea Telecom shared their progress in launching 5G services in 2019. The different regions have taken contrasting paths on their 5G deployment.

Breathtaking Live Demo

No doubt, the most fascinating example of the power that 5G can provide was the first 5G tele-mentored live surgery. Together with 200 other MWC attendees, I witnessed the first 5G tele-mentored live surgery carried out remotely via a 5G radio base station by Dr. Antonio de Lacy, head of the gastrointestinal surgery service at the Hospital of Barcelona. Dr. Lacy used a 5G video link and real-time white-boarding tool to help guide a younger surgeon in the removal of a colon cancer tumor. It was breathtaking and it illustrated the potential impact 5G low-latency communication can have on transforming the way patients are treated from remote locations.

This remarkable innovation was made possible by a consortium of Vodafone, Hospital of Barcelona, Mobile World Capital Barcelona, 5G Barcelona and the Advances in Surgery Channel (AIS). There is no doubt anymore that in the near future, 5G will allow surgeons to perform operations in remote locations where specialists are scarce.

The Benefits of 5G are Upon Us

After so many years of promises and hype, 5G is finally here. Mobile operators, infrastructure and technology suppliers, industries, governments and regulators are closely collaborating to deliver these innovative and revolutionary use cases in 2019 and onwards. It is not a sprint, it is a marathon that will keep us on our toes for the next decade. 5G will disrupt every single vertical industry and new use cases are being developed around the world.

A10 Networks will be along there with our customers helping them to strengthen their security posture with high-performance and automation driven 5G Gi/SGi-firewall, GTP firewall, DNS firewall and integrated DDoS mitigation services at hyperscale.

See a deeper dive on A10 Networks’ 5G security solutions in this white paper.


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March 12, 2019

About Gunter Reiss

Gunter Reiss is vice president of worldwide marketing. He brings to A10 Networks more than 20 years of success in international business development and global sales with technology expertise in the mobile, IP networking, SDN, cloud and IT industries. READ MORE