Dish taps Palo Alto Networks for 5G security assist

Dish Network has added Palo Alto Networks to its list of 5G partners, tapping the company’s cloud-native security platform.

Dish is working on a greenfield 5G build using open radio access network (open RAN) architecture, with the aim of launching an initial market later this year. Palo Alto Networks was selected to assist with container security, network slicing, real-time threat correlation and dynamic security enforcement.

Specifically, Dish plans to use the VM-series and CN-series Next-Generation Firewalls, along with Primsa Cloud.

The U.S. government has shown interest in open RAN, in part to bolster supplier diversity and alternatives to Huawei and ZTE, which both were designated as national security risks by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). However, some have raised questions about whether open RAN could introduce new security risks.

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In a statement, Dish Chief Network Officer Marc Rouanne called out the importance of tackling 5G security from the start.

"As part of our efforts to revolutionize wireless connectivity, it's imperative that we integrate security into our 5G network from the ground up. As a result, we are incorporating innovative, next-generation vendors to provide our network with 5G-native security solutions from day one of deployment," stated Rouanne. "Palo Alto Networks is a leading security provider that excels at safeguarding enterprises, mobile networks and cloud platforms."

Palo Alto took aim at mobile operators and first introduced a 5G-ready firewall product back in 2018 as carriers were prepping for 5G transitions. For its work with Dish, the company highlighted the need for security for applications beyond mobile device connections.

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“When built as a secure network, 5G can bring massive business transformation and enable smart supply chains, autonomous transportation, smart manufacturing, mass adoption of the Internet of Things and much more," said Lee Klarich, chief product officer at Palo Alto Networks, in a statement. "This is why we are delighted to help Dish achieve its vision to build a first-of-its-kind, open, secure 5G network."