University of Waterloo to lead consortium to advance Canada’s security and defence

Today, the University of Waterloo announced a 5G and beyond mobile network technology consortium to help develop 5G mobile networks and improve Canada’s security and defence. 

A team of computer scientists at Waterloo will lead the C$1.5 million multi-partner consortium. The group is funded by the Department of National Defence (DND) through its Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) program. 

The project will span three years, and will involve collaboration with academic and industry partners from École de technologie supérieure in Montréal, University of Regina, BlackBerry, NoviFlow, and Rockport Networks, with support from Rogers Communications Canada.

The consortium will develop artificial intelligence (AI) systems to detect cyberattacks on the 5G network as they happen. This will allow quick response and automatic countermeasures to keep the network secure. 

Other security requirements will be included into the 5G network slices themselves, using end-to-end network slice orchestration that responds dynamically to an application’s security requirements and the severity of threats, the announcement revealed. 5G network slices, or network slicing, is a network configuration that allows multiple networks to be created on top of a common physical infrastructure.

“Our mobile communications networks can be sliced using software into fit-for-purpose networks that operate virtually, each with a different degree of isolation and level of quality-of-service to meet security and performance requirements,” said Dr. Raouf Boutaba, the project’s principal investigator and director of Waterloo’s Cheriton School of Computer Science. “However, network softwarization also introduces vulnerabilities that can compromise services, including slices. The goal of the consortium is to deploy 5G network slices that not only have high performance, flexibility and reliability but also have increased security levels required for critical applications.”

The various solutions will be integrated with the consortium’s partner and collaborator technologies to create a proof-of-concept on the University of Waterloo–Rogers 5G testbed.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Samira Balsara
Samira Balsara
Samira is a writer for IT World Canada. She is currently pursuing a journalism degree at Toronto Metropolitan University (formally known as Ryerson) and hopes to become a news anchor or write journalistic profiles. You can email her at [email protected]

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