Author: Anouck van der Ham

Blogs

How Mobile Network Operators benefit from active network capacity…

 

How Mobile Network Operators benefit from active network capacity management

One of the most valuable assets for an operator is the mobile network. The main source of income for an operator is the revenue generated from subscriptions that want to make use of the mobile network. A bad customer experience related to the mobile network will almost immediately cause a decrease in the revenue. Therefore terms like ‘quality of service’ or ‘quality of experience’ are very important for an operator.

The solution sounds simple, ensure that there is enough capacity available on the network.
However, in reality, dimensioning a mobile network is a very complex assignment that consists out numerous (external) factors that influence the available capacity of the network. Here are a few examples:

  • Weather conditions – The weather influence the range and capacity of a cell. Rain leads to a weaker signal in a certain area. This effect differentiates if it is raining heavily or even when the rain consists out or big raindrops.
  • Maintenance – A mobile network consists of a massive amount of equipment and there is always some sort of maintenance ongoing. In order to safely let the mechanic access a site, the operator needs to shut down all the cells located on that site. This means that the available capacity in that area is strongly reduced.
  • Area – An operator needs to take the area into account. Things like Football stadiums, train stations, hospitals or even property development have influence (in their own way) on the capacity needs in a certain area. For instance, when a new residential area is created the capacity need is bound to grow and when a football match is ended there is going to be a (short) peak in the capacity need.
  • Innovations – The evolution of smartphones (and apps) have changed the needs of the subscriber drastically. Also the introduction of LTE(4G) and the upcoming 5G the mobile network landscape is changing. With every technology evolution, the capacity is increased but the range of cell is reduced, meaning that more hardware is needed to replace a cell with ‘older’ technology.
  • Legislation – The operator(nor vendor) are bound to (local) rules and regulation that limits the transmitting power of the cell but also the height of the site or the allowed frequencies.
  • Events – New year’s eve and disasters cause massive peaks in demands.

Expanding a mobile network is very costly, so the operator cannot simply keep adding capacity to its network while on the other hand maintaining a concurrent pricing model. Also, the extra capacity is only required for a (small) period of time, after that the capacity will not be used.

The solution is network capacity management
With capacity management, the operator can influence the behavior of their network. The operator can configure QoS rules that will be applied when certain thresholds are breached. As a result, certain limitations will be applied and subscribers are limited in connectivity, speed or usage of services. By controlling the available capacity the need to expand the capacity for let say new year’s eve is reduced. Meaning that the operator will not be obligated to invest in the costly expansion of their network. With a capacity management solution, the operator has obtained the freedom to choose between expanding or what (percentage of) service needs to be limited.

Capacity management is implemented by the vendors of mobile network hardware based on standards that apply at that moment. As a result, the way capacity is managed differs per technology and per vendor while the majority of the mobile networks are multivendor and consist out of multiple technologies(3G,4G)

If we look back at the aforementioned examples then it is virtually impossible to define one set of QoS rules that apply all the time to the entire mobile network. The best solution for an operator differs per situation (or even per area). These are one of the reasons for Group 2000 to develop LIMA Network Protect.

LIMA Network Protect
Is a multivendor capacity management solution that is designed map (predefined) rules to one or more areas.
Network Protect monitors the network health and it can apply capacity management to all equipment in a certain area. Independent of the technology or vendors that provide coverage in that area.

LIMA network Protect can perform capacity management very locally, up to cell level. However, the solutions also focus on the most fine-grained method to provide the operator with maximal flexibility when it comes to shaping their network. Therefore the solution is also capable of differentiation between services or even applications.
The latter is useful when it comes to DDoS attacks or malicious/ malfunctioning apps that cause a disturbance on the mobile network. Like a few years back the Angry birds game that caused a signaling storm on a mobile network due to a programming error.

Blogs

How advanced mobile network capacity management benefits society

 

How advanced mobile network capacity management benefits society

Mobile telephony and data transfer are indispensable in society, not just residents, but entire industries nowadays depend on the correct, thus unperturbed, functioning of telecom networks. Failure of these networks due to calamities or targeted cyber-attacks can have major social disruption and economic consequences and harms the confidence of citizens, businesses, and governments in the vital (cyber) infrastructure. Uninterrupted access to 112/911 can therefore no longer be guaranteed in such situations. With great personal and social consequences.

 

Resilience

In case of calamities and large-scale events, cell towers are quickly overloaded. Neighboring cell towers try to cope with the capacity shortage, which also overloads them. Due to this domino effect, the entire mobile network can be impacted by a local incident.

This took place, for example, during the attacks of 22 March 2016 in Brussels. Due to the overloading of a small number of cell towers, the entire Belgian telephone network was affected and the crisis center was temporarily unavailable.

The fire in the Dutch Vodafone data center of 4 April 2012 could also be considered, which resulted that even the entire Dutch cabinet was unavailable for a number of days.

These recent calamities have shown that the telecommunications network is highly susceptible to overload in unexpected situations and that the consequences of this overload after the cause has been removed often last long.

In addition to calamities, cyber-attacks can also have a major impact on the availability of the mobile network. By (DDOS) attacks on the mobile infrastructure, it is relatively easy to overload a part of the network and thus creates a domino effect that affects the entire network.

Failure of the mobile infrastructure has an impact on the access to the emergency services 112 / 911. After all, about 93% of the 112 calls in the Netherlands take place via the mobile phone. The unavailability of the 112 service might have potentially fatal consequences. The expectation is that other countries will have similar numbers. Despite the fact that the legislator has legally stipulated that telecom providers must make provisions that are necessary to guarantee uninterrupted access to 112 / 911, in practice, it appears that the uninterrupted access to 112 / 911 could not be guaranteed.

The consequences of national outages of a mobile network as a result of a regional overload situation and the subsequent domino effect on the mobile network, such as in Belgium after the attacks in Zaventem, not only resulted in the unavailability of the national crisis center, but also took away the ability of citizens to do 112 emergency notifications. The sharing of experiences, compassion by citizens through the usual means (social media) was also greatly reduced. This situation has irrevocably impacted the citizen’s confidence in the mobile (critical) infrastructure.

Implementing a solution which ensures a higher availability of the mobile critical infrastructure, either through providing a faster recovery after a failure or which could detect and reduce the impact of a disruption, prevent the domino effect, would not only greatly benefit mobile operators, but more importantly also our society.

 

Environmental and health benefits

Cell towers are a fundamental part of each mobile network. Placement of these cell towers is subject to permits and acceptance of society. The arguments against expansion or placement of new cell towers are often: landscape pollution, extra radiation, and environmental impact. Often valid arguments, but in decision making these arguments often outweigh the advantages of a readily accessible mobile network. Nevertheless, a technology that reduces the need for extra placement of cell towers will have an ecologically positive impact. Implementing advanced capacity management tooling within the mobile network of a telecom operator would result less need to over-dimension their mobile network infrastructure and therefore fewer cell towers and fewer possible negative effects.

The implementation of LIMA Network Protect not only contributes to the resilience of the mobile network and the resilience of the society, but it also reduces the possible environmental and health impact of the placement of cell towers.

 

LIMA Network Protect

LIMA Network Protect ensures higher availability of the mobile critical infrastructure, through ensuring a faster recovery after failure. LIMA Network Protect can provide a clear picture of the disruption through the built-in dashboard so that those responsible can act more efficiently. It will make the inherently vulnerable telecom network more robust without drastic changes to the network and would reduce the need for planned overcapacity of the mobile network, resulting in environmental and health benefits.

For more information about our LIMA Network Protect solution, please visit our LIMA Network Protect website.

Blogs

Checks, balances, and measurements for your Lawful Interception IT…

 

Checks, balances, and measurements for your Lawful Interception IT Architecture

Lawful Interception (LI) architectures deployed in telecommunication networks consist of many complex building blocks which are connected and integrated together. If one of these building blocks fails for whatever reason, potential important and often crucial intercepted data can be lost. The result: insufficient proof in court and more important non-compliance with local regulation.

Both telecommunication operators and LEA’s have an increased demand to determine if the end-to-end communication and IT technology chain is acting according to requirements and standards. Hence the need for a comprehensive but cost-efficient monitoring and measurement solution was born. A solution reducing the complexity for all stakeholders in the domain whilst creating the unfailingly and consistently data you need for compliance (Network Operators) and guarantee to receive the right data (LEA’s).

Group 2000 has a long history regarding providing innovative and sustainable compliance solutions like LIMA Élite.

LIMA Élite was built around an existing monitoring and measurement platform used to simulate targets as the modems act as normal phones. Various actions are supported by the platform, like connecting to the right network and technology. Support for dialing, sending SMS and retrieving websites via the mobile connection was added to  complete the functionality of the existing platform. A new backend system orchestrates all tests and also acts as a law enforcement monitoring facility (LEMF) to validate the output of the LI environment.

Furthermore, we correlate the intercepted data with the right action taken and to verify that the interception is working. All relevant ID’s are embedded in the technology and functionality in order to ensure that correlation is done in a perfect way independently of the execution of the actions to support long delays in delivery of the intercepted data.

The LIMA Élite backend supports many input formats, like ETSI-232, LEMF specific export formats, ETSI-671, and many others. To support the flexibility in configurations of the backend, the software makes use of flexible and easy to configure open source technology like Docker.

The modularity of LIMA Élite solution also opens chances for other derived, however, useful solutions, which might be topic for a follow-up blog.

For more information about our LIMA Élite solution, please visit our LIMA Élite website.

 

News

Winners SBIR Cyber Security III Second Phase

Winners SBIR Cyber Security III Second Phase

At the end of 2016, The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) opened a third SBIR Cyber Security tender. The SBIR was focused on the resilience of our society and proposals had to concentrate on the research programmes of Nationale Cyber Security Research Agenda (NCSRA-II).

Recently, RVO has announced the 13 winners of the second phase: innovation development.

1. KPN

2. Group 2000 Nederland B.V.

3. Tracks Inspector B.V.

4. Delft Dynamics B.V.

5. Bitsensor B.V.

6. Adversitement B.V.

7. Slatman IT

8. Cybersprint B.V.

9. InnoValor B.V.

10. Embedded Acoustics B.V.

11. Software Improvement Group B.V.

12. Storro B.V.

13. Intrinsic-ID B.V

More information about the SBIR (in Dutch) and read the article in Computable.

(Author: The Hague Security Delta (HSD))

Events

Security & Policing Home Office Event – Farnborough (6-8…

 

Security & Policing Home Office Event – Farnborough (6-8 March 2018)

This UK Government event is the largest police, security and National Resilience event in the UK and provides a platform for showcasing world leading technologies, products and solutions to more than 570 police services, Government departments, organisations and agencies from the UK and overseas Security & Policing 2017 will bring together international professionals and experts from Government, law enforcement, police service, CNI and industry to share knowledge and experience.

March 6, 2018 to March 8, 2018 – FIVE (Farnborough International Venue & Events) Show Centre, ETPS Rd, Farnborough GU14 6AZ
Booth: # 19A

 

Events

Bedrijvendagen Twente – The Netherlands

 

Bedrijvendagen Twente – The Netherlands (15 February 2018)

Bedrijvendagen Connects! This annual event, hosted by the University of Twente, consists of a series of events aimed at creating and improving contacts between students, post-graduates and alumni on one side, and potential employers on the other. Every year, more than 2,500 students and recent graduates meet over 150 companies through a great variety of activities, which take place on or around the University of Twente’s own campus. www.bedrijvendagentwente.nl

February 15, 2018 – Universiteit Twente, Drienerlolaan 5, 7522 NB Enschede, The Netherlands
Booth: # 1

Blogs

ETSI – The importance of effective standardization

 

ETSI – The importance of effective standardization

Group 2000 has been an active member of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) for over ten years.

As a technology supplier, we strongly believe that standardization is crucial for creating intelligent security solutions for law enforcement, intelligence agencies, telecom providers and internet service providers. Standardization and active collaboration across the industry makes it possible to combine platforms and solutions from multiple technology vendors, enabling better end-to-end security solutions.

In the field of Lawful Interception, the work of ETSI’s Technical Committee Lawful Interception (TC-LI) has proven to be very effective. The participants are government organizations, telecommunication providers, and technology vendors. Group 2000 actively participates in this committee, covering all aspects of interception and working closely together with other ETSI committees and with the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP).

The interoperability that is a core element of Group 2000’s strategy and our LIMA product portfolio is based on the adoption of these ETSI and 3GPP standards. The successful implementation of these standards enables lower integration costs and a faster time-to-market for our customers.

Group 2000 will continue to actively participate in and contribute to the ETSI TC-LI standardization efforts and promote the standardization efforts in the years to come!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blogs

From idea to product – CRMP

 

From idea to product – CRMP

Group 2000 is a company with years of experience in Network Management Solutions. Group 2000 needs to update and maintain their Network Management product suite constantly in order to keep up with the technology innovations and the security related items. Next to the impact on our existing products, these market movements also hold the possibility for new products. In this article Group 2000 will show how an idea is formed into a product. This blog is intended for more technical inclined readers and will not contain commercial information.

The product mentioned in this article is called “Cell Recovery Management Platform” (in short CRMP) and might soon enrich our network management suite portfolio. Network Management within Group 2000 means integration with various vendors (for example Nokia or Huawei) in a customer network. The vendors follow ETSI specifications so therefore Group 2000 needs to have in-depth knowledge (of ETSI specifications) in order to translate the individual use cases to vendor specific commands that need to be send into the customers network.

The initial idea for a new product came from a disaster that occurred a few years back when the mobile networks from multiple operators were disturbed for a long period of time. One of the striking things was that the impacted network area was far greater than the disaster area. This was caused by the handover behavior of cell phones when they lost the connection to the network.

Some time ago Group 2000 was in the phase of creating a product called LIMA Network Protect that required in depth knowledge concerning the process of cell phones setting up (and terminating) a connection to an operator network. This knowledge was gathered by investigating numerous (versions of) ETSI specifications. It was during that investigation that we found a way to potentially solve the problem that was mentioned earlier.

Group 2000 encourages employees to develop their own ideas. The process for these new ideas is that they are logged and pitched (internally) to see if the idea has any potential. The initial steps for our new product CRMP were taken. Next will be the creation of some high level documentation that can be used to determine the market potential for such a product. After these phases it is time to work out the requirements of the product so that each of the relevant use cases is supported and the product is compliant to the Group 2000 standards. During this requirements phase we identified a series of challenges that needed to be addressed.

As earlier mentioned, one of the features for a Network management product is the need to support various vendors. Due to the relatively long lifetime of a network element our product will encounter a broad range of different software versions in customer networks. In order to limit the impact and still be flexible enough to support the different setup between operators, group 2000 has chosen for the separation of concerns (SoC) principle. By implement according to the SoC principle, the Group 2000 software has a base that supports the use case and standard features and some small sections/modules (called provisioning modules) that encapsulate the vendor specific code. The result is a stable base product that has separate small provisioning modules which are impacted when the product encounters a different software version or even a new vendor.

The provisioning modules are also the entry points into the customer’s network and that means high security requirements and support for multiple connection methods like SSL, SFTP, SSH etc. Next to the method that is used to setup a connection, the product also needs to support parallelism in order to speed up a use case by opening multiple connections to the same network element.

Although Group 2000 software is highly configurable this particular product requires another level of configuration. Group 2000 wants this product to constantly fine-tune the settings on the customer’s network. One of the challenges is the varying performance of the network elements. The fastest network element responds in a matter of seconds while the slowest takes about 6 minutes to respond to a command. Normally there is no need to perform a second use case while the first use case isn’t finished but that would mean that the product is ‘inoperable’ for at least 6 minutes. That is not acceptable and to overcome this problem the product is going to use an “event driven process chain” (EPC) that is capable of maintaining events over different use cases. Also the EPC should be capable to react in a preconfigured manner to events that are sent from the network to the product. This feature enables the product to adjust the setup behavior of cell phones in the same area.

These are just a few technical items that need to be addressed in the requirements and of course in the product. Besides technical items there were also a series of commercial challenges, some of those could be addressed in the prototyping phase, others through desk research and interviews with potential customers. One particular challenge which significantly could impact the commercial success of the product was the Net Neutrality legislation as it was implemented in various countries. With the recent harmonization of the net neutrality regulation in Europe, introduction of CRMP now actually facilitates the new net neutrality regulation.

The next phase is the prototyping phase in which a subset of the requirements are build. The subset of the requirements is determined by some standard criteria’s like time and costs but, more importantly, features that are either technically challenging or identified as interesting for the market.

After the prototype and the market exploring, Group 2000 has a solid understanding concerning the costs, risks, effort and market potential of creating such a product. If the product still has enough potential then a new product is born and is added to Group 2000’s product portfolio.


 


News

Growth in Jobs and Revenue in Dutch Security Cluster

 

Growth in Jobs and Revenue in Dutch Security Cluster

20 April 2017 – Last year, 1,000 new jobs were created in the security sector and the revenue increased with 4.8% up to a total sum of 7.2 billion euro. The added value of this sector to the national economy grew 6.2% up to a total sum of 3.8 billion euro. This was published in the Policy Research Corporation report on economic potential of the national security cluster HSD. This is a growth which is higher than the national average of 2.1%. In order to maintain this growth it is vital to continue investing in this cluster. On 20 April, HSD executive director Richard Franken handed over the report to HSD chairman Wim Kuijken and Saskia Bruines, deputy mayor of the city of The Hague.

The Dutch security cluster has important regional cores in Twente, Brabant and The Hague where the HSD Campus is located. The biggest growth will be realised within these cores. Richard Franken, executive director HSD Board: “This concerns both the growth of the existing businesses, which could expand through collaboration and innovation, and foreign security organisations which opened a branch in The Netherlands. It shows the attractive power of the presence of the cluster and the Campus. There is an ongoing trend in The Netherlands whereby more international security congresses are organised and foreign security organisations open an office in or near the Campus. This leads directly to an increase of jobs and revenue for The Netherlands. Not only in terms of security but also in service sectors, such as consultancies, taxis and hotels.”

The region of The Hague

Figures show that the region of The Hague welcomed 31 new security organisations and 400 new jobs last year. The total of 406 organisations which are good for 15,200 jobs generate a revenue of 2.27 billion euro, including an added value of 1.23 billion euro to the Dutch economy. Saskia Bruines, Alderman Knowledge Economy, International, Youth and Education of the city of The Hague: “It is great to see that the HSD Campus gives this spin-off. The security domain creates many job opportunities for our region, in particular when all jobs at security services, such as the National Police and Fire Department, are included as well (13.200). This demonstrates why we are the international city of Peace, Justice and Security.”

Tangible results

In 2016, 12 international organisations set up an office in The Netherlands/the province of South Holland, including Red Tullip Systems (USA/Denmark), Andrupos (Germany) and Payatu and E2labs (both from India). Good results were also booked with regards to attracting international congresses with a total of 11. Examples are a congress about Smart Secure Cities, Critical Infrastructure Protection & Resilience Europe, hardware i.o. and European Conference on Blockchain. HSD work closely together with NFIA, InnovationQuarter and the Municipality of The Hague. Besides that, soft landing programmes with Canada and the USA were set up.

Joris den Bruinen, deputy director HSD: “In order to maintain this growth and efficiency, it is necessary to continue investing in this security cluster and to do so we will, for example, organise the second Cyber Security Week in The Hague at the end of September 2017. The Cyber Security Week will attract many international visitors, incoming trade missions and media to the city. It is a great example to see how such investments directly lead to economic return and gives The Netherlands the opportunity to demonstrate itself as the ‘secure digital gateway to Europe.”

(Author: https//www.thehaguesecuritydelta.com/news/newsitem/858-growth-in-jobs-and-revenue-in-dutch-security-cluster)

News

INTERPOL and TNO Partnership to Combat Cybercrime

 

INTERPOL and TNO Partnership to Combat Cybercrime

19 April 2017 – On 19 April, INTERPOL and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) have signed an agreement to further enhance and extend their collaboration in combating cybercrime. Combining INTERPOL’s reach throughout the global law enforcement community with TNO’s research and technology provides opportunities to identify practical solutions to increase cyber security.

Tackling cybercrime cannot be resolved unilaterally. As cybercriminals innovate, they do so with speed and by communicating and sharing information with each other. Public and private sectors also need to be innovative in building trusted relationships to identify ways to become more effective in combating the global threat posed by cybercrime.

Staying ahead in the fight against cybercrime
In 2015 INTERPOL’s Cyber Research Lab and TNO created a private darknet network, private cryptocurrency and simulated marketplace to recreate the virtual underground environment used by criminals. This training environment on darknet and cryptocurrencies will now be delivered globally, providing law enforcement worldwide with a deeper understanding of the evolving criminal activities on the darknet. The partnership between INTERPOL and TNO will also be extended to include additional research and innovation to move ahead in the fight against cybercrime, in addition to the secondment of a TNO expert to the IGCI.

Innovation in policing
“Innovation in policing is key and the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation provides a platform for achieving this with our member countries and partners. This new agreement with TNO is important in our continued work to ensure law enforcement have the training and resources they need to take effective action in combating cybercrime,” said Noboru Nakatani, Executive Director of the IGCI.

First scientific research institute
Mr Wim Nagtegaal, vice-admiral (ret), member of the TNO Executive Board, Chief Operating Officer: “With TNO’s approach to concept development and experimentation we contribute to the fight against cybercrime and cyberterrorism with training and tools. TNO is honored to be the first research institute to partner with INTERPOL. We are proud to see how the research contributions of Prof Pieter Hartel are currently translated to worldwide delivery. This is important from both a security perspective and also emphasizes the Netherlands’ innovation potential.”

His Excellency Jacques Werner, ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Singapore who witnessed the agreement signing ceremony said: “In our hyper-connected world, cyber security is a joint responsibility that cannot be solved by any organisation in isolation. The partnership between INTERPOL and TNO is one of the many key ingredients towards cyber security.”

Picture: Mr. Noboru Nakatani and Mr Wim Nagtegaal shaking hands, accompanied by the Dutch Ambasador H.E. Jacques Werner and TNO and INTERPOL officials

(Author: https://www.thehaguesecuritydelta.com/news/newsitem/871-interpol-and-tno-partnership-to-combat-cybercrime)