A10 Networks says its early bets on 5G are paying off

5G (Pixabay)
A10 Networks says a lot its 4G customers want to future-proof their deployments so they will be ready for 5G. (Pixabay)

A10 Networks isn’t naming names, but it’s working with operators around the world on their 5G strategies, and now it’s outlining its own roadmap to help mobile carriers future-proof their networks for 5G.

A10 says it’s providing a “comprehensive strategy” for mobile service providers to successfully deploy 5G Non-Standalone (NSA) and Standalone (SA) solutions. A10’s solutions run the gamut, addressing existing and emerging mobile network architecture requirements across the Gi-LAN, virtualized EPC and Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) environments. It also works with bigger-name players like Ericsson and NEC.

“A10 is laser focused on 5G networks. We understand the challenges network operators are facing and have invested heavily in solving these challenges,” said Lee Chen, founder and CEO of A10 Networks, in a release. “We have partnered with key technology providers and developed a comprehensive roadmap to address 5G challenges. Our early bets on 5G solutions are paying off as we have won multiple pilot projects and are best positioned to address market needs.”

Chen told analysts during the company’s third-quarter conference call that the company gained 200 new customers in the quarter, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. When asked how many of those were 5G-related, he said two are 5G customers, both of which came from its 4G-installed base.

The San Jose, Calif.-based company announced in August that a “major” Japanese mobile carrier had selected the A10 Thunder Convergent Firewall (CFW) Gi/SGi firewall solution for its 5G pilot network; that carrier’s 5G production network is expected to become commercially available beginning in 2020. In July, A10 also announced that an Asian Tier 1 mobile service provider is using its A10 5G-GiLAN solution for its next-gen 5G-ready network rollout, but it’s not revealing these customers’ identities.

With existing 4G networks, things like firewall, DDoS, deep packet inspection and other elements have been traditionally provided by a variety of vendors. Such an approach creates complexity and latency—"all the things you do not want in emerging 5G networks,” Chen said.

Instead, A10 is leveraging its ability to consolidate all these network security application capabilities into a single platform, making it easier for customers to manage and get a better return on investment.

Yasir Liaqat, vice president of Product Management at A10, echoed that theme in an interview with FierceWirelessTech, noting that A10 offers security, agility and that consolidated approach.

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Even though A10 works with hundreds of service providers all over the world, including North America, Liaqat declined, understandably, to say which service providers he thinks are winning the race to 5G—other than to note that South Korea and Japan are two regions that got an early start with 5G-related services for Olympics.

A lot of operators have 5G pilots going on, but the use cases vary among them. For some, they’re focused on fixed wireless connections; for others, it’s more about IoT.

“Operators are picking their battles and they’re picking and choosing use cases which they want to prioritize,” he said. “Some are ahead of others.”