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European test center takes network security for a 4G ride

17 January 2012

The move to high-speed 4G mobile networks poses challenges for carriers and vendors to deploy security products that can handle those high speeds and data volumes, a challenge that the European Advanced Networking Test Center (EANTC) recently put to the test.

At the behest of Light Reading and Crossbeam Systems, EANTC conducted 4G mobile network security tests that emulated what happens to network performance and security when more than one million users simultaneously use their smartphones and tablets for various tasks.

The traffic was sent through a single Crossbeam X-Series X80-S platform running Check Point software, where it underwent a series of firewall and intrusion prevention system (IPS) inspections, as well as network address translation (NAT).

Using Spirent’s Avalanche layer 4-7 test solution, EANTC validated the Crossbeam X-Series at 106 Gbit/s with firewall, IPS, and NAT enabled, with one million simultaneously active users, four million active TCP connections, and 242,000 new connections per second.

The traffic model included using a 95% majority of HTTP sessions representing a range of user profiles. In addition, email connections were emulated alongside smartphone operating system over-the-air updates.

“We challenged the Crossbeam X-Series mobile security gateway with rigorous, objective and realistic performance tests”, said Carsten Rossenhövel, managing director of EANTC. “Mobile operators require dependable firewall performance and scalability figures for their fast growing 3G and LTE services. Crossbeam’s solution worked flawlessly and surpassed our expectations in the various mobile deployment scenarios we tested.”

While the tests examined the Crossbeam product, the test methodology could be used by the mobile industry to test 4G speeds and security performance, said Peter Doggart, director of product marketing at Crossbeam.

“We created a methodology that all enterprises could follow", Doggart told Infosecurity. “From an operator perspective, they don’t want to put in a major network security device if it negatively impacts the user experience….We identified what metrics they should be looking at and a test plan that could be replicated by any operator. We did the leg work”, he added.

“This test honed in on three vectors: performance, scale, and realism”, said Michael Lynge, marketing manager at Spirent’s network and applications group. “A lot of the time, the more security you enable, the more it affects performance. These tests and the methodology really help IT managers and network operators to understand the balancing of security and performance”, Lynge told Infosecurity.

This article is featured in:
Internet and Network Security  •  Wireless and Mobile Security


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