Juniper Networks Rises to 5G Networks Security Challenge

Juniper Networks this week took the wraps off an acceleration card for its firewall designed to keep pace with the volume of traffic expect to be generated by 5G networks.

Amy James, director of security product marketing for Juniper Networks, said the SPC3 Advanced Security Acceleration card the company is making available for its SRX5000 series of services gateways provides an 11x boost in overall firewall performance.

Aimed primarily at service providers and high-end enterprises that are planning on embracing 5G networking services, the SPC3 will enable those organizations to secure services running on those networks without adversely impacting performance, James says. That approach will enable customers that have already invested in high-end firewalls from Juniper Networks to protect those investments as they make the transition to 5G networks.

The SPC3, which combines four Intel processors on a single card, will also enable customers to achieve that goal without adding significantly more cooling to their data centers, which would be required to compensate for the heat generated by additional firewalls, she adds.

In general, IT organizations that expose application services across networks are expected to begin making the transition to 5G networks beginning next year. Telecommunications service providers already have begun rolling out 5G services in various metropolitan regions around the globe to drive everything from 4K video to augmented and virtual reality applications running on mobile computing devices. That challenge many of those organizations will face soon is how to secure those application services, especially as cybercriminals increase the size of brute force attacks specifically designed to cripple firewalls. Cybercriminals now are capable of leveraging hundreds of thousands of endpoints to launch attacks against specific sites and services.

The transition to 5G networks won’t be as much an event as it is an extended journey. Even once they become available it may be a while before pricing for 5G services approaches a point that would spark mass adoption. Cybersecurity professionals tasked with securing those services should be able to address each use case individually versus having to upgrade every firewall in the data center all at once.

Juniper Networks is not the only provider of high-end firewalls targeting the 5G firewall opportunity. In many instances, sales of firewalls and next-generation switches and routers designed for 5G networks will be bundled together, even though they most likely will continue to be managed by separate networking and cybersecurity teams. In fact, Juniper Networks notes the SPC3 is part of a larger software-defined secure networking frameworks the company has developed as part of an effort to reduce the total cost of operations for cybersecurity.

In the meantime, cybersecurity teams should be able to take some comfort in the fact that firewall performance continues to scale. Without that ability the cost of securing 5G networks could easily become prohibitive. The challenge now is figuring out the rate at which the organization plans to make the transition to 5G networks and then how to accordingly secure them.

Michael Vizard

Michael Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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