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Mobile operators are moving towards 5G commercialisation, but new use cases will take time

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The security of 5G networks is currently the hottest of topics, but beneath the political headlines there’s plenty of activity centred around the regular business opportunities offered by the next generation of mobile technology.

A10 Networks — a supplier of high-performance 5G Gi/SGi-firewall, GTP firewall, DNS firewall and integrated DDoS mitigation services — is one company pursuing those opportunities. That’s why Gunter Reiss, A10’s VP of worldwide marketing, recently sponsored “an independent survey around 5G among the world’s largest network operators” to assess how the market is developing.

The survey was conducted by the Business Performance Innovation (BPI) Network and is the basis for a report, ‘Securing the Future of a Smart World’, which is released today. The survey population comprised 145 IT and business leaders at communications service providers (CSPs) around the world (44% North America, 29% Europe, 17% Asia Pacific, 6% South America, 4% Middle East).

Key findings are that over half (54%) of CSPs are either ‘Well along in pilot testing and trials’ (28%) or ‘Moving rapidly toward commercial deployment’ (26%). More than two-thirds (67%) will deploy their first commercial 5G networks within 18 months, while another 21 percent will do so within two years. The vast majority (94%) of respondents expect growth in network traffic, connected devices and mission-critical IoT use cases to significantly increase security and reliability concerns for 5G networks.

Heading up those security concerns is advanced DDoS protection to address larger and more sophisticated attacks:


Image: A10 Networks/BPI

Describing himself as “one of the biggest proponents you can find of 5G,” Reiss spent 21 years at Ericsson before joining A10 Networks in 2014. His final task at Ericsson was leading 5G engineers in developing new use cases such as autonomous vehicles exploiting Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communication (URLLC) — “which you see finally coming to the world in 2019,” he told ZDNet.

“4G was exciting, but it was really just mobile broadband — mobile apps, user experience, video (YouTube), coverage and, in the enterprise, bring-your-own-device,” Reiss said. “But what very quickly happened with mobile operators — particularly in the US, with unlimited data plans — was that they had a hard time increasing their ARPU [Average Revenue Per User].”

Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) is still a priority for 78 percent of CSPs in the A10/BPI Network survey, but Massive Machine Type Communications (MMTC) and URLLC are also identified as early priorities by 44 percent and 38 percent respectively.

With 5G, network operators can partner with vertical industries to sell new MMTC and URLLC services. In the A10/BPI Network survey, 66 percent of CSPs said they planned to launch commercial 5G services in advance of the final 3GPP Rel 16 standard that will cover use cases like connected cars, smart factories, enterprise and private networks and public safety.

“I’m a big believer that almost every vertical industry will be disrupted by 5G,” Reiss said. In the A10/BPI Network survey, respondents expected the automotive industry to see the most disruption, followed by cloud services and manufacturing:

a10-5g-survey-sector-disruption.png

Image: A10 Networks/BPI

The reason this will happen is down to a new architecture for 5G networks. “The operators are moving to a totally distributed telco cloud — they call it ‘cloudification’. They want to build networks like Facebook, Google and Microsoft — flat, agile and fully automated. We need this kind of SDN-driven architecture to get the low latency required for new use cases,” said Reiss.

a10-5g-survey-cloudification.png

Image: A10 Networks

Network operators are making significant strides towards virtualising their packet core infrastructures, with nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents in the A10/BPI Network survey reporting completion (19%), near-completion (21%) or good progress (32%).

The 5G security question

The recent furore over Huawei has thrust 5G network security into the spotlight, but operators are already well aware of its importance both in the core and at endpoints, Reiss said. In the A10/BPI Network survey, security was identified by 68 percent of respondents as a ‘very important’ concern, just behind network capacity and throughput (72%).

“I get the Huawei question very often, and being European myself but living in America, my opinion is that Europe is a bit caught in the political crossfire between the US and China. Every European nation needs to evaluate the security risks and create a diverse supply chain. Decisions should not be geopolitically driven: they should be driven by technology, and also by collaboration between different entities in terms of security standardisation, validation and lab testing before you put things into a network. We have so much technology nowadays to make sure that no back doors are being exercised.”

As a vendor of carrier-grade network security and application delivery solutions, A10 naturally sought survey respondents’ opinions on their upgrade plans in this area. Only 11 percent have upgraded their Gi firewalls (between the mobile network and the internet), while 68 percent plan to do so. Similarly, 13 percent have upgraded their GTP (GPRS Tunneling Protocol) firewalls, while 60 percent plan to do so. Most CSPs (85%) also said that consolidation of security and application delivery services in the Gi-LAN is important (51%) or very important (34%) given the critical need to reduce latency and lower costs.

5G and AI: a disruptive combo

“5G is not just a technology question any more: it could determine the future GDP of a nation,” Reiss said. “The combination of 5G and AI will be one of the most disruptive technology combinations we have ever seen…we’re going to have access to so much data,” he added. 

All of which makes the security aspect even more critical. “With today’s legacy DDoS capabilities you can detect and mitigate an attack in 10 seconds to maybe a few minutes. Now we have to get down to 1-3 milliseconds. The only way to do that is to apply new machine learning algorithms and full automation,” said Reiss.

And the timescale before we see all these exciting new 5G use cases come to fruition? “I think it will take two or three years before we see a massive impact,” Reiss said. “Everybody wants to be the first to launch a new service, but most of these are non-standalone 5G projects — we won’t see standalone 5G for a while.”

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Polestar 2 electric car reveals paid download to add horsepower

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Polestar has released a downloadable over-the-air (OTA) update for all long-range dual-motor versions of the Polestar 2. The electric automaker’s latest performance software upgrade unlocks more horsepower and nippier acceleration, good things to have in a premium electric performance car.

Polestar has already released numerous software updates for the 2, but most of them had something to do with convenience features and range/charging improvements. The latest software upgrade is the first time Polestar applies its tuning magic to an all-electric model. If you’re old enough to remember, Polestar started life in 1996 as Volvo’s tuning arm similar to BMW’s M division and Mercedes-AMG.

So, what does the performance update give you? It adds 67 more horsepower and around 15 torque, boosting the power output to 470 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque. What’s more, the power boost has given the Polestar 4 nippier acceleration. According to the automaker, accelerating from zero to 60 mph now only takes 4.4-seconds, better than the outdated software’s 4.7-seconds.

Best of all, everything happens with a few taps on the screen. The Polestar 2 is not a slow car by any means. In stock form, the Polestar 2’s 408-horsepower translates to an “addictive wave of instant torque, combined with a satisfying thrum rather than the bordering-on-harsh electric shriek some EV motors produce,” said executive editor Chris Davies upon driving the Polestar 2 last year. But with 67 more horses, the software update has added more spice to the EV’s grand-touring potential.

Furthermore, Polestar claims the additional muscle has no penalties for range and energy consumption. Equipped with a 78 kWh battery, Polestar 2 Long Range Dual Motor achieves an EPA-rated 233 miles of range. It has an 11 kW onboard charger and supports up to 150 kW of DC fast charging. With the latter, you’re looking at zero to 80-percent in around 40 minutes.

However, the latest Polestar 2 performance software upgrade is not free of charge. It starts at around €1,000 ($1,130) and is currently available to download in Europe, including the UK, Norway, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Germany, Austria, and Finland. Meanwhile, Canadian and US owners can avail of the OTA update starting early next year.

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EPA gives 2022 Ioniq 5 EV better range than Hyundai’s first claims

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South Korean automaker Hyundai has outdone itself with the 2022 Ioniq 5. Not only did Hyundai create an awesome-looking all-electric vehicle that won’t look out of place in the film set of Back to the Future 2, but the Ioniq 5 managed better range numbers than Hyundai initially suggested.

As Hyundai revealed today, the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 can achieve an EPA-rated 303 miles of driving range, and those numbers apply to the single-motor rear-wheel-drive variant equipped with a 77.4 kWh battery pack. Other markets get two battery options, including a smaller 58.2 kWh unit, but all U.S.-bound Hyundai Ioniq 5s will have the 77.4 kWh long-range battery option.

With a single electric motor, you’ll have 225 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque at your disposal, which is plenty enough for most driving applications. But if you want a zippier Ioniq 5, you’ll need to go for the dual-motor AWD variant with a combined 320 horsepower and 446 pound-feet of torque. Both configurations allow a top speed of 115 mph, while the maximum tow rating is 2,000 pounds. Hyundai claims zero to 60 mph in under five seconds, not bad for vintage-inspired EV.

However, the AWD model achieves lower EPA numbers: 256 miles on a single full charge. If the batteries go flat, the Ioniq 5 offers what Hyundai claims is the world’s first multi-charging system that supports both 400V and 800V charging infrastructures. A standard Level 2 10.9 kW onboard charger replenishes the batteries in around 6.5 hours. But if you have access to a 350 kW DC fast charger, the Ioniq 5 can juice up from ten to 80-percent in under 20 minutes.

Furthermore, Hyundai has partnered with Electrify America to give Ioniq 5 owners total access to the latter’s network of over 700 charging stations across America. Each Ioniq 5 comes with free and unlimited 30-minute charging sessions for two years from the purchase date. Suddenly, the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 has become a top choice in the EV category. With over 300 miles of range and free unlimited charging, the stakes have gone higher, and we have yet to discuss the Ioniq 5’s tasteful yet purposeful retro design.

Starting life as the Hyundai 45 EV Concept at the 2019 IAA auto show in Germany, the production Ioniq 5 is essentially a concept in production guise. The angular styling is a throwback to yesteryears, but there’s genuine substance behind its quirky design. The Ioniq 5 has a four-inch longer wheelbase than a Hyundai Palisade (measuring a lengthy 118.1-inches, the longest wheelbase in a Hyundai production vehicle) despite measuring a full 14-inches shorter in length.

Combined with shorter front and rear overhangs, Hyundai claims Ioniq 5 has a greater passenger volume than the Ford Mustang Mach E and VW ID.4. In addition, Ioniq 5 has 27.2 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seats. Meanwhile, folding the rear seats reveal 59.3 cubic feet of storage space.

Other neat features include Hyundai’s V2L function that essentially turns the Ioniq 5 into a humongous power bank. Best of all, it can even charge a stranded EV. “Ioniq 5 introduces the Hyundai brand to a whole new set of buyers,” said Jose Munoz, president and CEO, Hyundai North America. “Owning one is going to be a new experience and lifestyle that only the Iooniq brand can provide.”

The 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 will sell this winter in three trims: SE, SEL, and Limited. Hyundai has yet to disclose the MSRP, but we’re expecting base prices to start under $45,000.

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2022 Honda Passport goes upmarket with one monster price hike

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This winter, the redesigned 2022 Honda Passport is arriving at dealerships with a significant price hike. The base Sport trim from the outgoing model is gone for 2022, making way for the new base EX-L trim with standard front-wheel drive (AWD remains a $2,100 option).

With base prices starting at $39,095 (including $1,225 destination fees), the 2022 Passport is about $5k more than last year. What’s more, it now costs thousands of dollars more than its nearest competitors like the VW Atlas Cross Sport, Toyota Venza (which is a hybrid), and Hyundai Santa Fe.

For the money, you get an array of premium equipment like perforated leather seats with contrasting stitching, a remote power tailgate, an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, wireless charging, and remote engine start. Also standard are 20-inch alloy wheels and a one-touch power moonroof.

All Honda Passports have a 3.5-liter V6 engine pumping out 280 horsepower to the front wheels or all four wheels using the brand’s i-VTM4 torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system. Both drivetrains have and a nine-speed automatic gearbox. Honda Sensing is also standard across the lineup and includes hi-tech safety aids like lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, collision mitigating braking, and road departure mitigation.

The all-new Passport Trailsport has standard AWD and is the most off-road ready of the bunch. It starts at $43,695 and gets machined 18-inch wheels, chunkier off-road tires, and silver skid plates. It also has bespoke logos, rugged front/rear bumpers, heated wipers, and a 10mm wider track. All 2022 Passports with AWD feature up to 8.1-inches of ground clearance and a 5,000-pound towing capacity.

“The new Passport and Passport Trailsport don’t just look rugged; they’re ready, willing, and able to get dirty tackling trails,” said Michael Kistemaker, assistant vice president of Honda National Sales at American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

Meanwhile, the range-topping 2022 Passport Elite starts at $46,665. It has trim-specific 20-inch wheels, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated tiller, heated rear outboard seats, and a hands-free power tailgate.

Honda’s 2022 Passport is an attractive proposition for adventurous lifestyles despite the price hike. The Passport entered rallying a few months ago will continuously see action in the American Rally Association (ARA) series throughout 2022, so we have no question about the Passport Trailsport’s off-road pedigree. But is it $5,000 better than the competition? We’re itching to find out.

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