5G connections are estimated to grow to 1.8 billion by 2025, according to GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) Association.
The 5G IoT market valuation stood at USD 1.5 billion in 2020, and is expected to reach USD 40 billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 72.9% over the period 2021-2026.
Wireless technology has been growing vigorously all around the world. In the context of wireless technology, fifth generation or 5G technology, has become the most challenging and interesting topic. IoT in 5G system will be a game changer. It will open doors for new wireless architecture and smart services.
The 4G technology will not be sufficient and efficient to meet the demands for –
· Multi device connectivity
· High data rate
· More bandwidth
· Low latency
· Quality of service and
· Low interference.
The internet of things or IoT, is on the rise. The number of connected devices is set to increase from 700 million to 3.2 billion by 2023. While there are several factors contributing to this rise, the most important will be the development of 5G networks. 5G networks will go a long way in improving the performance and reliability of these connected devices & data transfer speeds.
The commercial success of any IoT device is ultimately tied to its performance. It is dependent of how quickly it can communicate with other IoT devices, smartphones, tablets, software in the form of app or website and more.
According to reports, 5G will be 10 times faster than current LTE networks. When it comes to smart home devices, this increase in speed helps to reduce lag and improve overall speed in which connected devices send and receive data and notifications. Besides smart home devices, all IoT devices will enjoy greater speeds including those with healthcare and industry applications.
5G – The fifth-generation mobile network offers:
· Multi-Gbps peak data speeds
· Ultra-low latency
· More reliability
· Massive network capacity
· Increased availability
· More uniform user experience
5G is a new global wireless standard. It delivers a new kind of network and is designed to connect almost everyone and everything together. When combining 5G with IoT, it should enhance the operational capabilities of these devices. But it also introduces new risks.
IoT with 5G
There is a big difference between a 5G implementation and IoT implementation. This is essentially around the standards that are available for either of the architecture.
5G is highly regulated and is built upon a recognized set of standards which have been issued by industry groups such as the Third Generation Partnership Project and the United Nations International Telecommunications Union.
IoT devices are largely unregulated and have no generic standards that they can follow.
With the concept of edge computing, processing has moved closer to where the data is. Instead of having to send the data across the network into the cloud and then do the processing and then send it right back, you will be able to shift the whole control plane and allow the data to move between the IoT devices. But this of course has changed the cybersecurity landscape and it has now become a decentralized model.
An IoT device is made up of sensors, hardware that connects the sensors and a layer of software. The software does the computing and managing of hardware and the sensor data. Then there is a communication interface, which allow connection to the 5G network.
Creating a generic security architecture is very difficult as there are so many ways to design, build and use an IoT device. Some of the models that have been proposed include the Industrial Internet Reference Architecture, Cisco’s Internet of Things reference model etc.
Security risks associated with an IoT system
Current risk methodologies and risk assessments are not designed or fit for the purpose of identifying the IoT related risks, in a thorough and repeatable way. These devices will be connected to the 5G network and will be pervasive and ‘on’ all the time. The kind of attacks that they’ll be vulnerable towards are still pretty much standard ones that affect ordinary on-
promise networks – eavesdropping, impersonation, man in the middle attacks, denial of service, replay, repudiation etc.
So, if we examine a smart home implementation, where there is a voice activated device that’s connected to an IoT connected lock on the front door. You need not get up and open the door, instead you do that with a voice command. But it also means that the thief or burglar who has identified that you have left the house, can come up to the front door, open the letterbox, and shout the same command and get free access to your home. So, the issue here is a lack of authentication at the IoT device and that device not necessarily having the ability to recognize only the homeowner’s voice.
5G will still suffer from the 4G vulnerabilities. It is not possible now to roll out a dedicated 5G network all at once. At someplace 5G is partially implemented side by side a 4G hardware and software components, for an extended period. So, to achieve a strong IoT security baseline it will take a multi layered approach.
Security teams will need to understand how 5G works and where the computing power will happen and how the computing decisions are made. The very nature of 5G networks means that the volumes of data will be order of magnitude greater than what they are now.
The traditional approaches, that lot of organizations, now have is not going to work going forward. The volume of data is going to be so vast and the ability to triage that data cannot be done by human operators.
So, you must start thinking around what techniques can be put in place within the IoT, 5G environment in an automatic repeatable and reliable way. Strategies need to be thought about how you’re going to securely manage these IoT devices.
Another key thing that needs to be thought about is a risk management framework, that will incorporate fully the IoT and 5G environment. Define a strategy so that you can reduce your risks especially if you are anticipating that you’re going to use 5G enabled IoT devices.
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