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Crossbeam, Spirent Test 4G Security To Its Limits

Results claim first clear picture of how securing massive levels of LTE traffic will impact network design and user experience

January 18, 2012
Rethink Wireless
by Caroline Gabriel

Network security specialist Crossbeam has worked with testing provider Spirent to evaluate security devices when they are working in massive systems, supporting more than a million mobile users at once.

The two companies have released the results of their project, conducted by independent testing center EANTC, to highlight what is needed to validate security in huge mobile networks working in demanding real world conditions - an area where there has been “no clarity around what to test for and what methodology to use”, according to Crossbeam. These are the first public trials on this scale, said the partners, and should help cellcos plan their network security infrastructure as they move to the major traffic loads of LTE.

The two participants and EANTC worked together to define a set of real world test scenarios which combine many different metrics to be as realistic as possible. “With so much misleading information about security product performance and the unpredictability of threats and traffic demands, there has been no clarity,” said Chet Gapinski, VP of product development at Crossbeam, in a statement. “Any single measurement, such as network throughput, is meaningless unless tested and measured in combination with other metrics under real world conditions.”

Spirent’s Avalanche system was used to replicate the traffic loads that operators experience at the mobile internet gateway (Gi/SGi), scaling up to more than one million users. Their traffic passed through a Crossbeam X-Series X80-S platform running Check Point software, which carried out firewall and IPS (intrusion prevention system) inspections, as well as network address translation (NAT).

The aim was to measure not just the impact of security processes on the network itself, but also on the quality of user experience. Jeff Schmitz, VP of Spirent’s networks and applications group, commented: “No one calls their provider to complain about connections per second. Instead, our goal was to create a test solution that truly emulates what happens on mobile operator networks, and provides realistic guidelines for building secure networks that can also support millions of connected devices with a high quality user experience.”

Crossbeam, Spirent Test 4G Security To Its Limits

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