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Will COVID-19 Impact Adoption of 5G Security & IPv4 Exhaustion Solutions?

A10 Networks employees have been under orders to “shelter in place” and nearly everyone is working from home. All schools are closed, and restaurants are open for takeout only. As my co-workers and friends adjust to this new style of working and connecting, I’ve noticed a willingness to try new technology from people that I think of as very “non-technical.” So, in the long-term, this will bode well for overcoming adoption barriers for 5G. Here are some examples of small companies and individuals that likely would never have explored virtual options for what could be considered “hands on,” non-technical activities:

  • My dance studio has implemented virtual dance classes, including video conferences and YouTube videos with dance instruction and instructor demos
  • My yoga studio is doing something similar with virtual yoga classes
  • My church is providing services via live stream on Facebook
  • My nephew, a psychologist, is now exploring therapy sessions via mobile phone
  • Virtual game night might be the answer for my family scattered across five states in the U.S.
  • At work, we now have a “virtual water cooler” meeting twice a week to catch up on what everyone is doing.
  • I downloaded two new apps for my favorite coffee shops

I’m not alone in thinking that lack of familiarity with new technology or lack of experience in its benefits is being erased as consumers and businesses scramble to quickly come up with alternatives.

  • As quoted in a recent Light Reading article, Wall Street research analysts at MKM Partners see consumer willingness to pay for broadband at an all-time high and that the pandemic has accelerated society’s transition to broadband and digitization by at least a decade. Wall Street research firm Raymond James believes that the COVID-19 efforts are also likely to drive more wireless usage.

Coronavirus Crisis May Slow 5G Deployment

Industry wide, while there are some warnings from GSMA intelligence that the crisis may slow 5G deployment and that consumers are now deeply concerned about their financial situation and so more reluctant to upgrade to 5G, there is plenty of evidence that operators will need to accelerate investment to meet escalating demand and that, over the long term, the industry may actually get a boost as consumers and business are forced to try new ways to stay connected.

  • Verizon has reported a 75 percent increase in bandwidth demand for gaming applications from March 8 to 15 and a 47 percent increase in the use of collaboration tools on the Verizon website.
  • NTT Docomo moved forward with its 5G launch – beginning its commercial 5G service in selected areas on March 25.
  • Australian carrier, Telstra, has decided to put a job-cut program on hold and accelerate investments in 5G deployments due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus in Australia and the increased capacity demand. Plans include acceleration of 5G network investment originally planned for 2021 into the current year and hiring of 1,000 temporary workers to handle rising call volumes.
  • In another Light Reading article, operators are also stepping up in many ways to aid in the crisis
    • Spain’s Telefónica this week added new features to its entertainment offering, including sports coverage and children’s programs, for no extra fees
    • Vodafone Italy has also reportedly been cutting fees for house-bound students. For the next month, it has scrapped usage limits attached to the services used by its younger customers.
    • T Mobile, AT&T and Verizon in the U.S. have all responded to FCC guidance and announced plans that waive late fees, not terminating service and introducing new plans to ease stay-at-home situations.

Service Providers Struggle with IPv4 Exhaustion and Maintaining 5G Security

Many of our operator customers, including ISPs, cable, mobile and fixed-line service providers, are experiencing some strain to deployed network capacity. Here’s a checklist of potential areas that they have identified and that service providers may need to address in this difficult time:

  • IP Address Pools:
    • Are there sufficient IP addresses in IPv4 or IPv6 pools and in your CG-NAT solution to handle the increased demand?
  • Security:
    • Are your IP pools sufficiently protected against DDoS attacks?
    • Are critical, public safety/health services protected against DDoS attacks?
    • Are subscribers now looking for more security options, such as DNS encryption?

The A10 Orion Security Suite includes high-performance VNFs for CG-NAT, ADC, firewall, load balancing and traffic steering, and other functions that can protect the network and subscribers. The solutions can scale out by 8X, and when combined with FlexPool® capacity sharing, the solutions help redistribute capacity where needed, as needed.

For me, I’m slowly getting accustomed to using the video camera on my conference calls – even when my office is messy. I’m thinking of organizing a neighborhood “virtual block party” to meet (at a distance) with those neighbors I normally never talk to. What about you? What new ways you have discovered in this stay-at-home crisis? Let me know.

Additional Resources

Learn more about A10’s 5G security and IPv4 exhaustion solutions: