F5 Networks has announced a range of Internet of Things (IoT), 5G and NFV solutions and capabilities at Mobile World Congress 2018 (MWC). F5’s offerings address challenges related to soaring data traffic from the emergence of 5G and the growing presence of consumer and commercial IoT.
“Service providers are increasingly disaggregating hardware and software in their networks and embracing virtualisation and automation,” said Martin Walshaw, senior network engineer at F5 Networks. “F5’s solutions are specifically designed with this future state in mind—consolidating and optimising network functions, reducing total cost of ownership, and facilitating multi-layered end-to-end security that spans devices, networks and applications.”
The news comes as service providers worldwide are fast adapting to new digital realities. According to F5’s recent 2018 State of Application Delivery report, more than half of surveyed service providers (55%) believe IoT is the most strategically important trend in the next two to five years. As many as 83% said they had digital transformation projects in place, while 56% of these projects have already influenced greater IT system and process automation and orchestration.
In addition, F5 is reducing the risk of the move to 5G through new Enterprise Licensing Agreements and virtual edition subscription options. It is also rolling out an iSeries Cloud-Ready offer, enabling customers to leverage investments that they are making today for changing needs over time.
Other solutions set to feature prominently at MWC 2018 include:
- High-performance virtual editions: F5 virtual editions (VEs) now include support for up to 24 vCPUs (previously 16) and NIC Teaming with SR-IOV, allowing service providers to maximise performance and lower costs in cloud and NFV environments.
- Device-aware IoT firewall: F5’s new device- and subscriber-aware IoT firewall enables mobile operators to manage and control security policies via the Gi LAN on a per-IoT device basis. Service providers can now use a single IoT access point name (APN) to aggregate a wide variety of use cases, avoiding network redesigns and simplifying service rollout.
- GTP (GPRS Tunneling Protocol) Session Director: One of the important characteristics of 5G architecture is an ability to ‘slice’ the network into different segments—all the way from the radio network to the core—and F5’s GTP Session Director can deliver mobile core network slicing capabilities based on locally configured policies. The solution gives mobile operators better control over how subscriber sessions are distributed over mobile core elements, which is particularly useful for managing IoT and MVNO business solutions.
- IoT MQTT traffic management and security: F5 is also announcing new capabilities for SSL offloading, MQTT message validation, MQTT message transformation, and intelligent MQTT load balancing. The F5 solution helps service providers and enterprises scale and secure their IoT brokers, platforms and applications.
- Behavioural DDoS detection and mitigation: F5 is launching new solutions featuring self-learning behavioural DDoS mitigation techniques, leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques for both L4 and L7 DDoS profiles. This significantly simplifies DDoS configurations. In addition, F5 has established strong partnerships with Flowmon Networks and Genie Networks to complement its powerful inline L4-L7 DDoS mitigation solutions with an out-of-path NetFlow-based DDoS detection engine. The combined solution is a powerful end-to-end DDoS offering that protects service providers against everything from volumetric brute force attacks to highly sophisticated application layer attacks.
Anti-bot mobile SDK: New capabilities extend the existing Proactive Bot Defense solution for web and APIs with an SDK for native mobile apps. This ensures that only humans (using a real mobile device with a valid mobile app) can access mobile app APIs, and protects against bot exploits.
In other developments, F5 has been confirmed as a member of Tech Mahindra’s VNF-Xchange. VNF-Xchange is a vendor-neutral platform that provides a reference environment for Virtual Network Function (VNF) design, VNF stack, and VNF performance validation. Designed to accelerate the communications industry’s adoption of Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) and Software Defined Networks (SDN), it provides a platform to validate VNFs, the components of the NFV reference architecture, and the end-to-end solutions, use cases, and network services that they enable.