President & CEO, Canada’s Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks (CENGN)
Next-generation networks (NGNs) have been a driving factor in the mobility and mobile service revolution. With new network technologies, the potential impact of 5G is becoming apparent.
5G networks won’t only offer speeds up to 10 times faster than 4G LTE, but also breakthroughs in services and use cases that can benefit from low latency and widespread Internet of Things (IoT) adoption.
“However, without a transformation in the way networks are deployed and operated, we won’t be able to realize the potential of 5G,” says Jean-Charles Fahmy, President and CEO of CENGN, Canada’s Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks. “Software-defined networking, virtualization of functions, and mobile edge computing are key trends that are proving themselves as drivers of innovation and lower costs for operators.”
With this evolution in networks, Fahmy says, there’s a potential that the networks will be more open to security threats that transcend suppliers and solutions. He believes everyone needs to “think differently” in how they approach and secure their network, as requirements for cybersecurity will change with 5G and the enhanced virtualization that comes with it.
“You see more and more company CTOs now talking about security that has to be built into the design of the network architecture and its operations, requiring an open ecosystem that can validate security for all vendors and solutions from specific threats,” he says.
Paving the way
As an independent non-profit organization, CENGN brings together industry, academia, and government to collaborate on evolving 5G-capable networks. It also operates a testbed encompassing the latest networking equipment from industry leaders and emerging open-source and cloud-native solutions.
“The CENGN testbed is available for companies, large and small, to validate their solutions in a commercial-grade environment to accelerate their commercialization,” says Fahmy. “Another piece of the puzzle is talent, which is the fuel of our tech industry. We see that there’s not enough talent to fill the demand today, so CENGN has active programs to train students — and professionals — on key network technologies.”
Like 5G, NGNs are crucial for Canada’s business sectors and rural network connectivity.