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EVALUATION OF LTE/LTE-A NETWORK SECURITY

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION.. 2

CELLULAR NETWORKS. 2

Cellular networks generations. 2

a)    Communication spectrum.. 2

b)    Modulation techniques. 2

c)    Medium access and bandwidth utilization. 2

d)    Security techniques and risk. 2

LTE/LTE-A ARCHITECTURE. 2

LTE/LTE-A NETWORK SECURITY THREATS. 2

Most severe attack. 2

Mitigation processes. 2

CONCLUSION.. 2

REFERENCES. 2

INTRODUCTION

Mobile broadband

Mobile broadband is the marketing term used in the description of a wireless internet access point through the use of a wireless modem, smartphone or any other portable modem [1]. It is in the year 1991 that the first wireless internet access became available as part of the 2G network, the second generation of mobile phone technology. Higher speeds became available at much later dates of 2001 and 2006 for the 3G (third generation) and the 4G (fourth generation). It is in earlier 2011 that it was identified that over 90% of the global population lived in area where there was 2G coverage in the region, another estimated 45% of the population lived in regions having both the 2G and 3G coverage. The mobile broadband spectrum that is used varies between 225MHz to 3700MHz.

It is in 1995 that the telecommunications, computers and laptop manufactures, integrated circuit the mobile phone manufactures saw the initial stages of the development of the mobile broadband era. The manufactures gathered and combined their resources to forming the GSM association which was aimed at the pushing for a built-in support in the computers for the mobile-broadband technology. The association was able to establish a service mark which was used in the identification of devices that have the capabilities to include an internet connectivity [2]. Developed in 1998, the 3GPP also identified as the Third Generation Partnership Project released the evolving family standards of the GSM which includes the EDGE, GSM, LTE, HSPA and WCDMA networks. Where the development of the network 4G LTE having signalling standards where download speeds could reach and be increased to 300Mb/s.

LTE/LTE-A

The term LTE is used in the representation of the statement “long term evolution.” This happens to be an example of a wireless technology that has grown immensely in popularity and adoption rate over the course of time and is fast and easily becoming a global standard [3]. While as for the LTE-A it also happens to be yet another emerging mobile network technology, and as suggested by the name itself, its expected to be a more advanced set of technologies and standards to be introduced in the mobile industry. The LTE-A network is expected to be able to deliver and receive speedier and bigger wireless mobile data payloads.

It is only just after the customers have become familiar and started to get used to the services of the fast and reliable 4G LTE connections that the mobile manufactures have already begun to talk about and pour their resources and finances into the development of the LTE advanced networks. Which as per the expected outcomes, the network is expected to be even faster, stable and reliable than any other mobile access available [4].  Unlike the current LTE services being provided, the LTE-A is expected to deliver the true meaning and experience of the 4G network speeds. It is expected that the speed of the LTE-A to be atleast twice faster than the current speeds of the LTE network. The network is developed and designed to be robust such that there are fewer connections that are being dropped as an individual move around.

The benefits of LTE are not only limited to the high speeds of the network but also to the smoothness being offered when travelling between cells within the LTE-A network infrastructure. As a result, the user does not get to lose their connection more frequently making the connection more suitable for use and reliable. At the same time, the network packs the more speeds within the same amount of spectrum, allow for multiple connections to the network at the same time by the users of the network.

CELLULAR NETWORKS

Cellular networks generations

a)      Communication spectrum

In the telecommunications industry, a communication spectrum can be described as the techniques used and adopted by the generation of a communication signal by a specified bandwidth with the main goal and intention of spreading the frequency. Which further results in the availability of a wider bandwidth. These techniques are used and applied for a variety of reasons such as the establishment of a secure and reliable communication channel, increase in the communications resistance to factors such as noise pollution, detection prevention and the limitation of power flux densities.

b)     Modulation techniques

In the telecommunications industry, frequency modulation is the process by which information is encoded in a carrier wave by a process which involves the varying of the waves instantaneous frequency. Frequency modulation is not only used in the telecommunications industry but also in the FM radio broadcasting, radar, telemetry, seismic prospecting, some video transmission systems as well as in systems such as the magnetic tape recording.

c)      Medium access and bandwidth utilization

The medium access control layer together with the logical link control layer are what constitutes the data link layer in the OSI reference model. The medium access control or MAC is responsible for the authorization or denial of transfer of data and information across a system. The MAC serves the role as the transmission medium that oversees and manages the type of information and data that is transported across different devices connected on a similar network infrastructure.

d)     Security techniques and risk

The security techniques used in the different mobile network infrastructure differs depending on the type of network.  For example, due to the improved performance and features exhibited by the LTE-A architecture, it is bound to have a higher and more sophisticated security feature as compared to the LTE architecture model.

LTE/LTE-A ARCHITECTURE

The LTE format was initially proposed and developed by NTT DoCoMo of Japan but ever since then it has received global recognition and declared as an international standard. The architecture of LTE has been evolving over time where the architecture has received and experienced maturity, in that the only modifications currently being conducted are only bug fixes, updates and corrections [5].

The first release of the LTE architecture did not at first meet the minimum requirements to be labelled as 4G, such as peak data rate accumulating up to 1Gb/s. The functioning of the LTE incorporates a number of tools, techniques and technologies that work together and in concert with aim of having to meet the set minimum network performance standards. Many of the technologies involved constituting to the formation of the LTE-A network all posses some common features and attributes. Where some of the most common themes include the networks ability to produce more bits into each and every megahertz produced of frequency, making more appropriate uses of the multiple antennas, the binding of the separate frequency bands and the better use of the mobile cells in the provision of a better and broader bandwidth.

LTE/LTE-A NETWORK SECURITY THREATS

In the current technological business environments, there exists a variety of threats and attacks which can affect an enterprise system causing huge losses and damages to the features and operations of the system [6]. This is mainly due to rate of growth of innovation that leads to more individuals gaining more experience and expertise in technology. As a result, threats such as malicious attacks are developed and introduced to the users of the system. For example; malicious attacks on the LTE network.

Most severe attack

The LTE network security threats mostly consists of the threats being categorised under cyber criminal activities such as hacking. This is mainly due to the fact that the LTE requires an internet connection in conduction its operations. The internet which happens to be the main tool being used by attackers to gaining unauthorized access to individuals’ personal systems and networks. The increased speeds provided by the LTE network further facilitates and promotes the use of malicious attacks as an LTE/LTE -A network security threats.

There are several mitigation measures that can be used in dealing with this issue such as the use of antivirus programs and firewalls in the provision of security features to the LTE network as well as training of the networks users on the threats and risks that are accompanied with the use of the network. Making the users aware.

CONCLUSION

Mobile broadband is the marketing term used in the description of a wireless internet access point through the use of a wireless modem, smartphone or any other portable modem. It is in the year 1991 that the first wireless internet access became available as part of the 2G network, the second generation of mobile phone technology. The term LTE is used in the representation of the statement “long term evolution.” This happens to be an example of a wireless technology that has grown immensely in popularity and adoption rate over the course of time and is fast and easily becoming a global standard.

REFERENCES

[1]      E. D. Wagner, “Enabling Mobile Learning,” Educ. Rev., 2005.

[2]      D. Astély, E. Dahlman, A. Furuskär, Y. Jading, M. Lindström, and S. Parkvall, “LTE: The evolution of mobile broadband,” IEEE Communications Magazine. 2009.

[3]      H. Holma and A. Toskala, LTE for UMTS – OFDMA and SC-FDMA based radio access. 2009.

[4]      J. Zyren, “Overview of the 3GPP Long Term Evolution Physical Layer,” Evolution (N. Y)., 2007.

[5]      E. Dahlman, S. Parkvall, and J. Skold, 4G: LTE/LTE-Advanced for Mobile Broadband. 2013.

[6]      J. Cao, M. Ma, H. Li, Y. Zhang, and Z. Luo, “A survey on security aspects for LTE and LTE-A networks,” IEEE Commun. Surv. Tutorials, 2014.

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