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The long-term evolution (LTE)/LTE-advanced (LTE-A) provides advanced services with higher bandwidths, better spectrum efficiency and lower latency compared to the legacy cellular networks. The LTE/LTE-A is an all IP-based architecture, which makes it vulnerable to new security threats. In order to evaluate the performance of LTE/LTE-A networks, an understanding of the architecture and security threats is essential. For further reading, could refer to the article “LTE/LTE-A Network Security Data Collection and Analysis for Security Measurement: A Survey” [1]. The article is available on the IEEE Explore platform, which could be accessed via the Melbourne Institute of Technology Library.

The assessment requires the students to compare wireless communication technologies and evaluate the wireless communication standards for wireless cyber physical systems and internet of things. The students are required to submit a report, which includes:

1. Comparison of the existing cellular networks generations in terms of:
a. Communication spectrum
b. modulation techniques
c. medium access control mechanism
d. Network speed and bandwidth utilization
e. Security techniques and risk
2. Explore the architecture of LTE/LTE-A
3. Evaluate the LTE/LTE-A attacks on the access and core networks.
4. Identify and analyse the attack with highest criticality, and explain the countermeasures taken to address such attack.
 

Comparison of Different Networks and Communication Spectrums

The Long Term Evolution (LTE)/LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) could be defined as a form of network that has provided billions of users with greater form of facilities such as better form of efficiency based on spectrum, higher amount of cellular bandwidths and lower latency as compared to the regular cellular networks that were traditionally used. Though the network architecture of LTE is still in their development phases, hence they are also facing some issues related with security due to the IP-based heterogeneous architecture [1]. Hence there is a major need for improving the network security within the architecture. There should be a proper and accurate level of security measurement within the network. In order to achieve the higher level of security within the network, there should be a proper analysis of the existing systems. Relevant data related with security should be collected and analyzed for the purpose of detection of attacks. This report focuses on the various aspects of the existing cellular networks, the architectural network structure of LTE and the various kinds of attacks that could be prone to the systems.

Attribute

LTE/LTE-A

WiMAX

GSM

Wi-Fi

Communication Spectrum

The frequency bands for LTE is network are 10-20 MHz. The LTE-A frequency band is 100 MHz.

The band of frequency range from 2 – 11 GHz. The most commonly used frequency are 3.5 and 5.8 GHz.  

The allocated spectrum band of GSM are 850 MHz and 1900 MHz.

The Wi-Fi is based on IEEE 802.11 standard. It uses the 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz radio bands.

Modulation Techniques

The LTE uses Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex (OFDM) and Single Frequency Division Multiple Access (SC-FDMA) [2]

The WiMAX technology makes use of Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM) and QPSK techniques of modulation.

The GSM employs Gaussian Minimum Shift Keying (GMSK). It is a form of modulation technique that is used in systems of digital radio communications.

The Wi-Fi networks make use of Complementary Code Keying (CCK), Pulse-Position Modulation (PPM), Cyclic-Code Shift Keying (CCSK) and QAM

Medium Access Control Mechanism

The protocols used in LTE are known as Packet Data Convergence Protocol (PDCP), the MAC protocol and Radio Link Control (RLC).

The WiMAX MAC has been specially designed and has been optimized for enabling of the multipoint applications based on wireless standards [3].

This network also makes use of a MAC layer of protocol, which is similar to the LTE/LTE-A network standards.

The Wi-Fi networks make use of the IEEE 802 standard as in the form of MAC sub layer and the form of logical link control sub layer, which together help in the making of data link layer.   

Network Speed and Bandwidth Utilization

The speeds of LTE are 45 Mbps whereas the speeds of LTE-A are in the ranges of 200 Mbps.

This form of network offers network speeds of 54 Mbps. The speeds of single WiMAX would range from 70 Mbps or more.

The 3G network speeds within GSM could range from 7.2 MB/s and 1.4 MB/s.

The network speeds of Wi-Fi could reach up to 450 Mbps to 600 Mbps that are attributed to 802.11 standards.

Security Techniques and Risk

The LTE network are designed with high form of cryptographic techniques that are meant to protect against attacks such as eavesdropping and many others. There is a form of mutual authentication between the network elements of LTE that are built within the architecture of the networks.

This network faces risk from Man-in-the-Middle Attacks. This network offers several form of techniques related to encryption against security vulnerabilities within the network.

The GSM networks faces security threats related to Denial of Service (DOS) attacks on the network systems. Mitigation techniques related to DOS attacks are majorly performed within the networks in order to secure the network systems.

Some of the most common Wi-Fi security risks are based on Man-in-the-Middle Attacks, Encrypted networks, Sniffing and Snooping, Distribution of Malware and Malicious Hotspots [4].

The high form of architecture based on LTE networks could be comprised of three major form of components:

  1. User Equipment (UE)– The underlying architecture of the LTE/LTE-A networks would be similar to that of UMTS and GSM networks [5].

 

(Fig 1: The LTE-A Architecture)

  1. Evolved UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access Networks (E-UTRAN)– The E-UTRAN component is wholly responsible for the purpose of handling the different communications based on radio transmission between the evolving core of packets and the mobile and computing devices. The E-UTRAN comprises of eNodeB or eNb.

 

(Fig 2: The E-UTRAN access network)

  1. Evolved Packet Core (EPC)– Some of the major component that are involved within are Policy Control, Charging Rules Function (PCRF) and Equipment Identity Register (EIR) [6].

 

(Fig 3: The EPC Core Network)

These form of wireless based operators are helping in the expansion of the networks based on LTE/LTE-A in a rapid manner. They help in gaining the advantages of additional forms of efficiency, lower latency. These would be helpful for the handling of the increasing traffic within the transmission of data [7].  

  

(Fig 4: The LTE Architecture)

The invention of 1G technological systems led to the bringing of newer form of mobile based systems based on wireless communication standards. These invention of newer form of systems led to newer and advanced architectural standards within the devices and the network. New forms of protocols and advanced interfaces have also evolved in a rapid pace. These network standards had also upgraded the increasing capacity of data that was transferred within the underlying communication patterns. The rapid form of evolution of the networks from 1G to 5G networks have also led to the introducing increasing form of vulnerabilities and threats to the systems. The threats, which are posed by various groups and malicious activities could lead to the theft of data when they would be transferred from one point of the network to another [8]. Security of the networks is highly challenged due to some of these threats. These form of major drawbacks within the system have led to the increasing number of concerns within the performance levels of the core networks. The widely discussed concerns related to these networks have the major amount of potential to lower the standards of the existing networks.

LTE/LTE-A Network Architecture

The advent of the LTE-A standards of network have helped in the development of Third Generation Partner Project (3GPP). This would be helpful for increasing the vast form of efficiency and raising the quality of service within the networks. The implementation of zero knowledge authentication and pseudo random based architecture would be able to prevent the various forms of potential attacks within the system [9].

The networks of LTE would make use of the latest standards within the market that would focus on the security aspects. This would provide the key to perform secure handover process within the network of E-ULTRAN. This form of mechanism would be helpful in providing several ways of transferring the eNb keys in the vertical or horizontal direction. Another form of attacks such as the replay attacks would also be able to crack the security features based within the eNb and user equipment [10].  

There are different kind of imposing threats on the security within the networks. In the recent past, there had been a vast number of imposing threats on the networks based on UMTS. Keeping the security aspects in higher consideration, it was decided to enhance the technology within the newer form of methods based on the technology that was known as LTE [11]. There are other forms of security measures that were implemented within the previous technologies. These were extremely necessary for eradicating the threats within the security within the networks. There are various kinds of attacks that are imposed on the system such as the Man-In-the Middle [MITM] attack or DOS attacks. An agreement based on the security aspects of UMTS authentication key have been highly considered in order to enhance the security concerns. There was another agreement that was based on the evolving packet system (EPS) key that was also presented [12].  

Conclusion

Based on the above discussion, it could be concluded that the different forms of vast advancements within the LTE/LTE-A architecture could be of much help for the communication system. This report focuses on the comparison of the different existing networks and the different forms of communication spectrums along with their network based speeds and bandwidth. Security is a major form of aspect within the networks. Several kinds of techniques related to the aspects of security should be highly considered during the transmission of data within the networks. This report puts major focus on the architecture of LTE and LTE-A networks. With the higher form of advancements within the security standards, it can be discussed that the security aspects should be highly improved for developing a secure mode of communication within the systems. Higher concerns should also be put within the sector in the aspect of various attacks such as eavesdropping, MITM, DOS and various other kinds of attacks. Ensuring the higher form of security would lead to the betterment of the systems and a high mode of communication.     

References 

[1] Duan, Suyang, Vahid Shah-Mansouri, and Vincent WS Wong. "Dynamic access class barring for M2M communications in LTE networks." In Globecom Workshops (GC Wkshps), 2013 IEEE, pp. 4747-4752. IEEE, 2013.

[2] López-Pérez, David, Xiaoli Chu, Athanasios V. Vasilakos, and Holger Claussen. "On distributed and coordinated resource allocation for interference mitigation in self-organizing LTE networks." IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking 21, no. 4 (2013): 1145-1158.

[3] Taferner, Manfred, and Ernst Bonek. Wireless internet access over GSM and UMTS. Springer Science & Business Media, 2013.

[4] Xiong, Jie, and Kyle Jamieson. "Securearray: Improving wifi security with fine-grained physical-layer information." In Proceedings of the 19th annual international conference on Mobile computing & networking, pp. 441-452. ACM, 2013.

[5] Ghavimi, Fayezeh, and Hsiao-Hwa Chen. "M2M communications in 3GPP LTE/LTE-A networks: Architectures, service requirements, challenges, and applications." IEEE Communications Surveys & Tutorials 17, no. 2 (2015): 525-549.

[6] Araniti, Giuseppe, Claudia Campolo, Massimo Condoluci, Antonio Iera, and Antonella Molinaro. "LTE for vehicular networking: a survey." IEEE communications magazine 51, no. 5 (2013): 148-157.

[7] Lee, Ying Loong, Teong Chee Chuah, Jonathan Loo, and Alexey Vinel. "Recent advances in radio resource management for heterogeneous LTE/LTE-A networks." IEEE Communications Surveys & Tutorials 16, no. 4 (2014): 2142-2180.

[8] Cao, Jin, Maode Ma, Hui Li, Yueyu Zhang, and Zhenxing Luo. "A survey on security aspects for LTE and LTE-A networks." IEEE Communications Surveys & Tutorials 16, no. 1 (2014): 283-302.

[9] Wang, Jin, Zhongqi Zhang, Yongjun Ren, Bin Li, and Jeong-Uk Kim. "Issues toward networks architecture security for LTE and LTE-A networks." International journal of Security and its Applications 8, no. 4 (2014): 17-24.

[10] Duan, Xiaoyu, and Xianbin Wang. "Authentication handover and privacy protection in 5G hetnets using software-defined networking." IEEE Communications Magazine 53, no. 4 (2015): 28-35.

[11] Fu, Anmin, Jianye Song, Shuai Li, Gongxuan Zhang, and Yuqing Zhang. "A privacy?preserving group authentication protocol for machine?type communication in LTE/LTE?A networks." Security and Communication Networks 9, no. 13 (2016): 2002-2014.

[12] Jiau, Ming-Kai, Shih-Chia Huang, Jenq-Neng Hwang, and Athanasios V. Vasilakos. "Multimedia services in cloud-based vehicular networks." IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Magazine 7, no. 3 (2015): 62-79.

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