How trusted networking is becoming a major theme

We’ve had open and deregulated networks for a long time. So why is that now changing? Time to take a look at the communication service landscape and explore how the drive for security and resilience is shaping the new breed of infrastructure.
Ulrich Kohn
Wooden blocks

Open networking has disrupted the business models for communication service providers. Some decades ago, the emergence of IP technology marked a milestone on the path to open networking, and formed the basis for a global services production platform. Service innovation was further fueled by deregulation, creating competition in historically closed national markets. The transition from closed to open networks has redefined the rules of value creation in communication networks. New players such as internet content service providers are leveraging global reach and software-defined services for unprecedented growth – often at the cost of traditional service providers.

The benefit for users of communication services is tremendous. In many countries, private households no longer pay more for communication services like they had to 30 years ago. However, the value from those services and the internet has advanced several quantum leaps.

This statement about the changing cost of communication might be controversial. We also need to consider the price everybody pays for giving away personal data for free. But this is a temporary issue. While it’s true that regulation is happening much slower than technical innovation, over time there will be more control, leading to transparency and alignment between value and cost. And it’s not only the private sector that will be subject of more governmental support.

Today, our societies and economies depend heavily on communication systems. In the past, there were dedicated networks for specific applications and customers. With IP technology and open networking, services have converged onto a common platform, and sensitive industrial control traffic and private chats now run over the same network. Only access control mechanisms prevent malicious users (with billions of connected users we need to assume that there are some of them) from having IP connectivity to critical infrastructure for criminal activities.

We want every part of the network to become a trusted resource.
The challenge for the future is security and privacy of communication. This is true for private services, but also for mission critical communication. Vulnerabilities of communication networks are creating risk for our societies and businesses. That’s why we’re seeing increasing governmental engagements in building state-owned secure networks and defining requirements and regulations for secure use of communication services. Here are some examples:
  • The German government is overbuilding its existing defense network with a broadband fiber infrastructure for highly secure and resilient communication. Similar projects are ongoing in many countries. 
  • Recent regulation and governmental orders request critical infrastructures to protect their communication networks. Several executive orders in the US are improving the national security position and strengthening cybersecurity especially with critical infrastructures.
  • Awareness is growing of the vulnerabilities of the satellite-delivered positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) services that are used so widely. Many countries are investigating assured PNT technologies.
  • The protection of private users is improving. The value of the European GDPR is now unfolding, and enforcement of privacy rights is starting to readjust the value creation of communication services and internet content. 

At ADVA, we know we also need to act. There’s a lot of talk about using zero-trust networking and end-point protection to mitigate the risk of sensitive data traveling over untrusted networks. But we don’t want to build zero-trust networks. We’re committed to a defense in depth strategy. We’re committed to securing networks at all layers in addition to ensuring protection at the endpoints. We want every part of the network to become a trusted resource.

This is why we decided to develop quantum-safe cryptography beginning in 2015. This early start has enabled us to implement quantum-safe cryptography well before the quantum threat enfolds. Our latest packet and optical products include hardware encryption that utilizes post-quantum algorithms or are designed for crypto-agility. They can also be upgraded with the post-quantum algorithms that are selected by NIST.

What’s more, we’re helping critical infrastructures to assure their PNT services by making satellite delivered timing secure and resilient. We’re combining robust satellite receivers with our AI/ML-enhanced management system and a best-in-class terrestrial time delivery solution. Our assured PNT solution is already being applied by critical infrastructure such as power utilities and has also been demonstrated with alternative PNT solutions.

If you want to learn more about our new, crypto-agile edge compute node, the ADVA FSP 150-XG118 (CSH), please take a look at these slides.

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