On Tuesday, the UK government decided not to give high-risk providers, including Huawei, access to the "sensitive core" of the 5G network. But what exactly is this core? And why is Huawei excluded? Four questions about the 5G issue.
What is 5G
5G is the successor to 4G, the technology currently being used for mobile internet. New technology in telecom masts must connect at lightning speed to devices that support this. On smartphones, for example, ensures that videos stream faster and photos are downloaded faster.
The planned 5G network also gets a much higher bandwidth. This growth in capacity ensures that more devices can connect to the same antenna at the same time, so that the connection of your smartphone remains stable in busy places, such as airports or music festivals. Now the speed of 4G dips down with great pressure.
What is the core of the 5G network?
The core of the network is sometimes compared to the heart or brain, writes the BBC . It is the place where data is routed to where it should end up. For example, the following things happen in the core of the network:
- Authentication of subscribers, so that specific users can only access for services for which they have paid and for which they have signed up.
- Forwarding a call to the correct radio tower and then connecting to someone else's cell phone.
- Forwarding to someone's voicemail.
- Deliver text messages.
- Transfer data from devices to apps and websites.
- Keep track of a person's data usage to keep an eye on whether someone is going over their bundle.
Why is Huawei excluded from this core?
Internationally, many countries fear Huawei espionage. Various intelligence services and politicians are concerned that the company has been instructed by the Chinese government to intercept other countries and pass on that information. It would therefore be a risk to give Huawei access to the core of the 5G network, through which all kinds of data comes through.
In the United States, President Donald Trump signed a decree in May 2019 prohibiting espionage telecom in masts. The decree prohibits providers in the country from doing business with, among others, Huawei. Trump also strongly advised the UK to take Huawei completely offside when rolling out a 5G network in the country. The UK did not fully agree with this, Huawei still has access to 35 percent of the parts of the network that fall outside the sensitive core, including radio masts.
De Volkskrant wrote in October last year that the General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) had investigated possible spying of Huawei at KPN, but found no evidence of this. Huawei itself certainly denies spying. To date, there is no concrete evidence that Huawei spies.
What about the Netherlands?
Sources reported to Nieuwsuur at the end of 2019 that with the introduction of the 5G network in the Netherlands the cabinet will come up with additional requirements to keep Huawei out. The construction of the most sensitive parts of the 5G network should not be done with countries with an "offensive cyber strategy" and with companies from countries where they can be forced to share information with the government.
Earlier in 2019, it was announced that KPN wanted to work with Huawei in the construction of the 5G network. KPN did indicate that it opted for a western company in the "critical parts" of the network.
On Wednesday, European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager will present a recommendation for the exclusion of providers in 5G networks in Europe.
See also: Huawei has a limited role in the 5G network in the United Kingdom