Monday, 11 March 2019 12:37

5G claims by ASD's Burgess termed 'disappointing' Featured

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Dr Mark Gregory: "An argument based on how vendors may or may not implement 5G network solutions is not justification to make claims on how the 5G edge can be implemented." Dr Mark Gregory: "An argument based on how vendors may or may not implement 5G network solutions is not justification to make claims on how the 5G edge can be implemented." Supplied

The continued insistence by the director of the Australian Signals Directorate, Mike Burgess, that there is no separation between the 5G core and the radio access network has been termed as "disappointing" by a network expert, who questioned where the evidence was for such a claim.

Dr Mark Gregory of RMIT University told iTWire that a 5G edge separation between the core and the radio network had been demonstrated in New Zealand by the telco Spark, using Cisco evolved packet core and Huawei 5G NR and radio access network in 2018.

"Many nations have decided to utilise 5G equipment from one or more companies separated core and radio access network solutions," he said.

"There is flexibility afforded in the ITU standards for separation at the 5G edge if a network operator wishes to do so."

Burgess was quoted by The Australian in October last year as saying: "The distinction between core and edge collapses in 5G networks. That means that a potential threat anywhere in the network will be a threat to the whole network."

When iTWire queried this statement, the ASD claimed that Burgess was referring to "mature" and "far more capable 5G network architectures". This has also been found to be incorrect as was pointed out in a 3GPP panel discussion in September last year.

But Burgess is not the only one to keep parroting this falsehood. More recently, Nigel Phair director of UNSW Canberra Cyber, made the same claim.

And ex-Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull followed suit during a speech in London last week. "Network function virtualisation and mobile edge computing means processing, or intelligence, will be distributed throughout the network, and the old distinction between the core and the Radio Access Network (or edge) will no longer be applicable," he said.

Dr Gregory said the media should encourage those claiming that there is no 5G edge separation mechanism to provide evidence so that a public review could be carried out.

"An argument based on how vendors may or may not implement 5G network solutions is not justification to make claims on how the 5G edge can be implemented," he said.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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