Rural Canada is critical to the Canadian economy. According to economic experts, businesses operating in rural areas account for up to 50 percent of the value of the country’s total international exports. Unfortunately, many of Canada’s rural areas are also still underserved, which means they lack the high-availability network services critical for productivity and regional economic development.
Carriers looking to bring high performance networks to enterprises in underserved areas are often met with significant obstacles. Terrain and harsh conditions in these markets make providing private fiber both uneconomical and time consuming. As a result, carriers attempt to rely on existing cellular network solutions to deliver the connectivity requested by their business customers. In Canada, some carriers now provide enterprise customers with Virtual Private Network (VPN) options over an existing consumer-grade LTE network. VPN tunnels are intended to allow mission-critical or business-sensitive traffic to pass through what is otherwise a public LTE network.
In my opinion, Canadian underserved enterprises that go down the LTE path face two potential challenges: 1.) They may not receive the protection they need to safeguard their vital data traffic and 2.) They must rely on a consumer-centered support model.
In February 2018, at the Network and Distributed Systems Security (NDSS) Symposium in California, a group of American researchers published their concerns regarding the security and privacy of 4G LTE. Using a combination of a symbolic model checker and a cryptographic protocol verifier, they uncovered eight new valid attacks against the three procedures of LTE – attach, detach and paging. One of their most alarming findings was an authentication relay attack that allows cyber criminals to access sensitive data without credentials by spoofing the location of legitimate users! Even with VPN tunnels, an enterprise’s private traffic still gets passed on a public network. As a result, an underserved enterprise that relies on VPN LTE network solutions is vulnerable to unwanted surveillance, cyber-espionage and other attacks that could result in costly, unplanned downtime.
Public LTE networks are designed for the consumer marketplace. Enterprises who chose to use LTE as a business network must also choose to sacrifice the level of support they may otherwise be accustomed to. While a consumer may find it simply inconvenient to speak to a service representative in a call center and wait for their issue to be resolved, enterprises demand a greater standard of service. If an issue does arise that affects uptime or performance, enterprises need to know when they can expect the problem to be fixed. In contrast, the private network / enterprise support model provides dedicated, real-time monitoring and issue resolution within a guaranteed mean time to repair. This saves the high costs of unplanned downtime – an issue not addressed with a public LTE offering.
In my experience in Canada and around the world, private networks are currently the best way to meet the bandwidth, reliability and security requirements of underserved enterprises and unleash their potential.
Over ten years ago, WireIE was founded with a vision of delivering high-speed connectivity to underserved regions in Canada and around the world. We prioritize enterprises and the need for secure and supported networks. Since our inception, we have led the way in delivering and managing private networks for enterprises across a variety of verticals. To find out more about our network solutions, check us out at www.WireIE.com or post a comment! Check us out on Facebook, Twitter, on LinkedIn.
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