Trend Spotting at the Big 5G Event

5G, and 6G, and AI/ML, Oh My!

2 people standing behind glass in a data center reviewing information on tablet with another person sitting at desk reviewing data on monitors.

NETSCOUT was on hand at the recent Big 5G Event in Austin, Texas.

We had great conversations at our booth, where our telco gurus were on hand answering questions and giving product demos of our service assurance, automated analytics, and security solutions. And we weren’t just exhibitors, we were educators, with two of our chief solution architects, Rick Fulwiler and Matthias D'Autremont, leading the conversation on 5G and cloud networks for communications service providers (CSPs).

Assuring and Securing Your 5G Cloud Transformation

Rick Fulwiler, NETSCOUT chief solutions architect was an expert commentator at the “Developing a Successful Cloud Transformation Strategy” panel, discussing the following key topics:

  • Success metrics for network transformations
  • How to decide between private or public clouds
  • Predicting clients’ future technology needs
  • Key risk considerations, among other things

Fulwiler also presented a technical discussion entitled “Assuring and Securing the Cloudified 5G Core.” He shared practical considerations and answered questions from the attendees regarding:

  • Network insecurities 5G introduces as well as the built-in enhancements
  • Network security for network slicing
  • Increased supply chain and software vulnerabilities

 “The presentation delivered by NETSCOUT on assuring and securing the cloudified 5G core really seem to hit home with the Big 5G Event audience, and we had great audience Q&A,” Fulwiler noted. “Thinking about visibility into the 5G SA cloud is hypercritical for service assurance, but what was not understood, until after this talk, is how vulnerable the 5G core is to resource-exhaustion attacks or how the speed of the 5G network can be leveraged to deliver massive distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. Who knew that 20 percent of all DDoS attacks are using global wireless networks? NETSCOUT did! Plus, our solution sees attacks and provides information so mitigation can take place before your customers even know there was a possible threat to their businesses.”

Planning a Successful Edge Deployment

Matthias D'Autremont shared his specialist knowledge at the “Successful Edge Deployment in a Multi-Cloud Network” panel. Subjects discussed included:

  • Edge computing challenges in an increasingly multi-cloud enterprise environment
  • Current cloud provider offerings
  • Gaps in current global multi-cloud solutions
  • Timeline for CSPs deploying solutions that combine the best of edge and multi-cloud

When discussing the panel, D’Autremont said, “I’m honored to have been part of the Big 5G Event panel “Successful Edge Deployment in a Multi-Cloud Network” with David Comery from Cox and Josh Arensberg from Verizon and moderated by Tilly Gilbert from STL Partners. It was fascinating to identify several fundamental gaps in global multi-cloud integration and then recognize that NETSCOUT delivers high-definition visibility and security of applications and services in multi-cloud today to address these performance management issues.” 

Four Overarching Trends at The Big 5G Event

Although this year’s Big 5G Event had five themes—5G RAN, 5G standalone (SA), enterprise services, telco cloud, and fiber and fixed wireless access (FWA)—each with daily tracks arranged around them, I noticed trends that cut across all themes/tracks, including artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML), 6G, closing the digital divide, and women.


The need for AI and ML to address exponentially increasing complexities on the road to 5G was discussed in panels and presentations across several tracks. CSPs especially require solutions that can scale service and security issues to free up their various operations and security teams to address the outliers that matter and automate responses to the remaining, more-mundane issues.
Read more about AI/ML here:


Even at the Big 5G Event, telecom insiders were looking toward the future and 6G. There was an entire preshow summit devoted to discussion, both technical and theoretical, about the future state of 6G and the meaning of 5G Advanced. One speaker described the evolution of mobile technology as moving from quality of service (4G) to quality of experience (5G) to quality of life (6G). Interestingly, AI/ML, sustainability KPIs, and using emerging and future 6G technology to close the digital divide were all quality-of-life issues.
Read more about 6G here:

Closing the Digital Divide

As I mentioned previously, closing the digital divide was a topic of conversation related to 6G; it was also the hot topic regarding cable/multiple system operator (MSO) networks. A recent report estimates that 42 million Americans have no broadband access. One presentation addressed the transformation in fiber networks enabled by the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program, whether that will be enough to close the digital divide for good, and how it will support 5G; other presentations discussed various under-connected scenarios and how cable/MSOs can choose the right technology to address each.

Read more about closing the digital divide here:

Women in Telecom

I know! Women aren’t a trend. We are a solid, productive core of the telecom workforce, and we have been—for yonks! But we’re generally under-represented at trade shows and industry events, and Big 5G was no different, with us being a small minority of the attendees. But, but! I was very pleased to see and attend the preshow “Women in Telecoms” summit, which, naturally, had panels made up of women, moderated by women, and addressing issues particularly relevant to women. Female leaders from many sectors of the telecom industry shared their particular insights and expertise on topics ranging from diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives to sponsors versus mentors, personal branding, and negotiating strategies. I was doubly pleased to see the number of women technologists acting as presenters, panelists, and moderators throughout the entirety of the event.

Read what some of the women at NETSCOUT have to say about their careers in telecom here:

As you know, the journey to 5G is unlike any other network transformation and requires absolute visibility. In fact, one presenter noted that you “can’t improve what you can’t measure,” when discussing green KPIs for 5G and future 6G. As a woman working in telecom for NETSCOUT, I was gratified to note that in addition to the trends noted previously, my company’s product offerings are also keeping pace with the ever-evolving demands for visibility for CSPs and cable/MSOs.

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