Outdoor Small Cell Security A Major Concern for Network Operators, Says ABI Research

ABI Research, a provider of research and analysis on trends in global connectivity and other emerging technologies, stated in its latest report "Femtocell and Small cell Security" that outdoor small cells carry a bigger security risk given the rapid growth in today's network.

With more operators planning larger scale deployments of small cells in enterprise and urban outdoors in response to increased demand on the network capacity, security will start becoming a key concern as outdoor small cells are susceptible to a wide range of external attacks. ABI estimates that by 2016, small cell shipments will overtake macrocells reaching 15 million units through 2019.

ABI listed data privacy threats, service fraud, denial of service, and operation malfunctioning as some of the security threats posed by the outdoor small cells and cautioned operators that pre-emptive measures are crucial to ensure that subscribers' confidence in the network is not impacted. ABI recommended a wide range of security measures including storing credentials in protected unit, authenticating femto and core mutually and performing location verification which are required for main functions such as device booting and establishment of core connection. 

Small Cells are inevitable parts of future mobile networks, but IP-based backhaul and location risks, like being out of operator direct reach and open to public access, leave the network exposed to various possible attacks. The Small Cells market is yet to mature; both technical and business-related aspects are constantly evolving to accommodate future services demands. In return, a Small Cells security structure must restrain any possible new security threat that may arise."

-   Ahmed Ali, Research Analyst, ABI Research

Executive Editor of The Fast Mode | 5G | IoT/M2M | Telecom Strategy | Mobile Data Innovations 

Tara Neal covers stories on strategies and initiatives in the Digital Telco space, and anchors the 5G and IoT/M2M verticals on the publication. Tara holds a First Class Honours in BSc Accounting and Finance from The London School of Economics, UK and is a CFA charterholder from the CFA Institute, United States. Tara has over 20 years experience in technology and business strategy.

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