IMS Imperils Mobile Security

Security and IP mobility challenges are driving demand for a new category of convergence gateway equipment, according to Unstrung Insider

NEW YORK, May 24, 2006 – As wireless operators move to embrace alternative access networks, unfamiliar security and IP mobility challenges are driving demand for a new category of convergence gateway equipment, finds the latest report from the subscription research service Unstrung Insider (

The report, Mobile Network Security: The Threat of Convergence & IMS, analyzes the mechanisms used to integrate alternative, IP-based access into the mobile packet core and tracks the evolution of today's security-focused gateway products into "service anchor nodes" capable of supporting security, mobility, and policy enforcement across network domains.

Initial security gateway deployments are focused around Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) and wireless LAN interworking, where there is a need for tunnel-terminating gateways with enhanced security features such as firewalls, denial-of-service protection, and intrusion detection systems. Other requirements, such as fast tunnel setup, massive scaleability, and the ability to support large numbers of secure tunnels switching rapidly between active and inactive states, also are driving the need for a new generation of equipment.

Equipment deployed today, however, needs a clear product roadmap. The next phase of development will see IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS)-capable packet data gateways (PDGs) and Packet Data Interworking Function (PDIF) devices take on a more advanced mobility management role, and, potentially, offload Session Initiation Protocol security tasks from Proxy-Call Session Control Function nodes in IMS architectures.

Equipment suppliers and network operators also are developing the requirements for the next-generation mobile core network being defined in the 3G System Architecture Evolution (SAE) standards groups. As well as providing a low-latency packet core for the next generation of radio access systems, SAE identifies support for multi-access network services using a variety of access selection techniques and device types, including multi-radio terminals, as a key objective.

Among the highlights of the report:

  • The majority of vendors are using Advanced Telecom Computing Architecture-based platforms, often with customized backplanes and custom-built processor boards, for convergence gateway products; others are using proven edge router or Gateway GPRS Support Node/Packet Data Support Node platforms.
  • Mobile operators want integrated security architectures that unify access-, control-, and services-layer security, but there is still significant uncertainty about how and where to implement security functions in converged networks.
  • Major mobile infrastructure providers will typically partner with security and IP networking specialists in the convergence gateway segment until market requirements are clearer and demand intensifies.
  • Initial UMA Security Gateway and "early" PDG products are on the market now; evolved PDGs and PDIFs with Mobile IP and Mobile Internet Key Exchange support will be offered from 2007.

Companies analyzed in this report include: Airvana Inc.; Azaire Networks Inc.; Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: CHKP); Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO); Clavister AB; Fortinet Inc.; Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR); Netrake Corp.; Reef Point Systems Inc.; Starent Networks Corp.; Stoke Inc.; and Tatara Systems Inc.

Mobile Network Security: The Threat of Convergence & IMS is available as part of an annual subscription (12 monthly issues) to Unstrung Insider, priced at $1,350. Individual reports are available for $900.

To subscribe, or for more information, please visit:

Jeff Claudino
Director of Sales
Insider Research Services
[email protected]

Dennis Mendyk
Managing Director, Heavy Reading
[email protected]

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