5G Factor: Rural, P5G, AI, and Security Wax

5G Factor: Rural, P5G, AI, and Security Wax

In this episode of The 5G Factor, our series that focuses on all things across the 5G ecosystem, we review key 5G ecosystem developments including T-Mobile’s $4.4 billion acquisition of UScellular’s wireless operations, NVIDIA kicking P5G tires, AI-RAN Alliance considerations, and what Fortinet’s cybersecurity portfolio brings to wireless/mobility environments.

Our analytical review drilled down on:

T-Mobile Acquires UScellular Wireless Operations: Good News for Rural Users. T-Mobile will pay approximately $4.4 billion for the assets being acquired from UScellular in the transaction that combines cash and up to $2.0 billion in debt to be assumed by T-Mobile. Upon closing, T-Mobile’s 5G network will expand to serve UScellular customers, especially those in underserved rural areas, by moving from a roaming experience outside of the UScellular coverage areas to nationwide access. We explore why the additional capacity and coverage generated by the combination of T-Mobile/UScellular spectrum and wireless assets and capabilities can stimulate competition for wireless services across rural areas, particularly in relation to Verizon and AT&T service offerings as well as help reduce the digital divide.

Private 5G Momentum: NVIDIA Kicks Tires and AI Considerations. NVIDIA received approval from the FCC to build a private 5G SA network at its Santa Clara, CA HQ to test its implementation with unnamed O-RAN vendors. The move follows high-profile organizations such as Tesla, John Deere, Lufthansa Technik, and NEC elevating their respective private 5G (P5G) commitments as P5G installations worldwide have passed the 2K threshold. We delve into the recent progress in the P5G market and how NVIDIA’s interest in P5G coincides with its 5G ecosystem initiatives including as a major backer of the AI-RAN Alliance and the development of the Grace Hopper chip to support new AI applications at the edge plus in RAN software.

Fortinet Brings Secure by Design Assurance to Wireless. Fortinet recently spotlighted its long-standing commitment to responsible radical transparency as an early signer of the Secure by Design pledge developed by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). CISA’s latest initiative strongly aligns to Fortinet’s existing product development processes already based on Secure by Design and Secure by Default principles. Fortinet is committed to adhering to robust product security scrutiny at all stages of the product development lifecycle, helping to ensure that security is designed into each product from inception all the way through to end of life, which we view as an important differentiator. We examine how the Fortinet platform combines unified SASE, security operations, and secure networking that protect the entire attack surface alongside integration ease with existing infrastructure plus our key takeaways from Fortinet’s Mobility Field Day 11 presentations.

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Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.


Ron Westfall: Hello, and welcome, everyone, to The 5G Factor. I’m Ron Westfall, Research Director here at The Futurum Group, and I’m joined here today by my distinguished colleague, Tom Hollingsworth, the Networking Nerd & Event Lead at Tech Field Day here at The Futurum Group. In fact, I believe we’re coming off a very successful set of field days, including Mobility Tech Field Day and AppDev Tech Field Day, both conducted over the last couple of weeks.

Now, today, we’ll be focusing on major 5G ecosystem developments that have caught our eye, and that’s including, for example, T-Mobile’s acquisition of U.S Cellular’s wireless operations, NVIDIA, kicking private 5G tires and targeting the telco space, and Fortinet’s Network Security proposition and its implications for the wireless and mobility spheres. And so with that, Tom, thank you, again, for joining us today. I trust you’ve had an eventful last couple of weeks. Anything to highlight?

Tom Hollingsworth: It’s been a pretty busy couple of weeks. Like you said, we did our Mobility Field Day event a couple of weeks ago. I’ve gotten all the videos posted from that. I’m actually getting ready for Cisco Live, which will be next week as of this recording. As you’re probably listening to it, it’ll be this week, and there’s a lot of great news. It’s supposed to be, a ball, be 104 in Vegas, so I’m packing short sleeves because Cisco Live’s weather isn’t the only thing that’s going to be hot. I’m sure there’s going to be some great news coming out of it, but we’ve already had a bevy of hot news this week, so, I mean, that’s something to definitely discuss.

Ron Westfall: Oh, yeah. No. Yeah, the show goes on. May and June are typically intensive, and it seems more so than ever, and the 5G space is no exception. And, yes, thank you for that plug on Cisco Live, the Tech Field Day Extra at the event. And also, shortly after that, there’s Networking Field Day Exclusive at HPE Discover in June, so there’s definitely plenty to look forward to that will also be part of our 5G Factor discussions.

And so with that, as promised, let’s look at that T-Mobile deal involving UScellular, and any deal that involves multiple Bs automatically warrants attention, and certainly, the T-Mobile acquisition of UScellular is no exception. That is T-Mobile will be paying approximately $4.4 billion for the assets being acquired from UScellular, and the transaction is basically combining cash, along with T-Mobile, assuming up to $2 billion in debt that they’ll assume. So that, I think, was a sweetener. That basically was the rationale for UScellular to go ahead and sell basically its major wireless operations to T-Mobile.

And as a little additional foreground, there was speculation that there could have been a potential split. That is T-Mobile acquiring about half the assets with presumably Verizon acquiring the other half, but that’s a completely moot point. That goes to show you where speculation can lead you to, and the bottom line is it’s T-Mobile came out with the winning proposition, if you will. And so that’s really good news for certainly UScellular customers because now, where they previously had limit of coverage, they’ll now have the benefit of, really, basically a performance that is now nationwide, because clearly, part of the deal is that T-Mobile will be gaining UScellular spectrum. And so that will definitely be integrated into the overall nationwide T-Mobile network, and that includes also, really, the cutting edge, I think 5G standalone network that’s been implemented in terms of a time-to-market advantage. But specifically, let’s look at a couple of the key details.

What is happening is that T-Mobile will acquire about 30% of all of UScellular’s wireless spectrum, with UScellular retaining 4,400 own towers and approximately 70% of its wireless spectrum portfolio. Now, what this is also allowing is that T-Mobile will sign new long-term leases on at least 2015 UScellular own towers and extend leasing on about 600 others. Now, T-Mobile is expecting the transaction will yield approximately $1 billion, and OpEx and CapEx annual run rate costs synergies upon naturally the completion of the integration of the respective assets.

Now, what I’m anticipating is that because of this deal, Verizon and AT&T will may need to start planning on, really, how to counter the T-Mobile-UScellular deal, particularly in areas such as price adjustments to existing and new service plans, as well as spectrum optimization related to serving rural customers, at least within the UScellular footprint. Now, both operators, that is Verizon and AT&T, are focused heavily on debt reduction, however, this deal shows that there’s plenty going on in terms of the competitive mix, and this is definitely going to, I think, inject a new competitive dynamic within certainly the U.S. mobile and wireless market.

And I think what’s also a key takeaway is that through this deal, the additional capacity and coverage generated by the combination of the T-Mobile and UScellular spectrum and wireless assets can, really, stimulate that competition that I touched on, particularly when it comes to wireless services that underserved rural areas, and I think that’s something that has been top of mind certainly with the U.S. policy making decision-makers, that is, “How can we assure that nobody’s left behind when it comes to certainly broadband coverage?”

And I think it’s also related specifically to society-wide imperatives to reduce the digital divide, and certainly, rural areas come to mind because of the density coverage challenges that are understood. It’s a lot of its basic physics, but also, I think this deal is demonstrating that, “Hey, there are ways to improve the coverage, to improve the plans, to inject more competition so that rural customers, at least, will have simply more choice in how they can improve their broadband connectivity where they live.” And so, yeah, that’s a basic introduction of the key aspects of the deal, but what else, Tom, do you see about the deal that’s intriguing, and what are the implications for the 5G ecosystem?

Tom Hollingsworth: Well, we talked about this week on The Gestalt IT Rundown, when we just had a few quick minutes to discuss it right after the deal came out, I thought one of the things that was the most interesting is, is when you break down the details. They bought the customer base and they bought the brick and mortar store locations. They are renting time on UScellular towers with some long-term leases and things like that. And, of course, there was the usual chatter about, “Well, this reduces competition in the market, therefore, it must be bad,” and of course, we’re still waiting for it to pass all the monopoly, stuff like that, but I’m pretty sure it will because this is the third largest company. This isn’t like AT&T buying them.

I think what’s interesting is this is where T-Mobile thinks the growth is going to be. They want customers. They don’t necessarily care about technology. They feel their network is pretty well-built out at this point, so what they’re looking for is that they’re expanding into those rural areas, and one of the reasons why this has been such a difficult area for companies to expand into is because of the infrastructure, like you mentioned. I mean, go pull up the AT&T coverage map, go pull up the Verizon coverage map, and you’ll see lots of colored dots around major thoroughfares, interstates and the highways and stuff like that, and then you’ll see these huge chunks of area that are just kind of bereft of coverage, and those are usually in the more rural areas.

You have to make a big investment in order to make those pay off from an infrastructure perspective, and a lot of companies have been hesitant to do that until they get to the point where there are no more customers in the other areas. I mean, I hate to say we’re saturated, but I mean, is there a place where you can go, very few places that you can go, where you don’t have coverage from the top two or top three vendors? And I think that’s what T-Mobile is basically saying, because right now, they’re letting the acquisition of those customers. They can stay on their UScellular plans, or they can move over to T-Mobile. I think the plan from T-Mobile is to move those customers over to the T-Mobile billing system, the T-Mobile towers and everything like that. They’re going to rent out space from UScellular for the time being until they can get those customers transitioned over.

Then, I think, you’re going to start seeing those agreements being curtailed. You might think for yourself, “Oh, well, that’s a bad thing for UScellular because then, that means that their largest customers going away.” No. What it does mean though, is that now that UScellular is not forced to kind of keep up with the Joneses when it comes to cellular coverage for customers and things like that, they can build up their network and become a neutral host, and I think that that’s something that a lot of people are kind of missing from this. T-Mobile didn’t buy all of UScellular. They bought the parts of UScellular that they needed to grow to compete against AT&T and Verizon.

What T-Mobile’s getting out of this, obviously, is revenue. What UScellular is getting out of this is they’re getting rid of the whiny parts of the network. And they’re allowed to grow and kind of basically become a arms dealer, for lack of a better term, in those difficult to cover rural areas, because now, like you said, if Verizon, a couple of years from now, says, “Man, we really need to build our presence in Western North Carolina or somewhere else in the south, where we don’t have a lot of good area,”. A company like UScellular can step forward and go, “Well, we’re operating the infrastructure down there, and for a small fee, we will let you kind of ride on our towers,” and I think that that is super valuable to a large provider who is not ready to make that capital outlay just yet.

Now, that remains to be seen as to whether or not T-Mobile doesn’t just decide to buy what’s left of via cellular if they’re happy with the way that the customer acquisition is gone, but I think that we’re going to see a little bit more of a transition in the market towards those ideas where you have the big carriers, and then you have some smaller carriers that are effectively supporting them from a neutral host perspective.

Ron Westfall: Yeah, excellent points, and I agree, Tom. I think, yeah, the neutral host dimension has been not appreciated enough, and yes, there were two billion reasons in terms of debt relief for UScellular to commit to this deal, but I think it’s also instructive that when it comes to the competitive mix, this is something that will probably stimulate it. The initial, I think, take was, “Oh, okay, this is more consolidation,” and that this is something that you will get more than the usual regulatory scrutiny. But I think T-Mobile did a pretty good job of explaining why that is not going to be the case, because of again, that rural challenge.

And also, I think it’s worth noting that when it comes, at least, to the U.S. carrier market, at least the mobile wireless service providers, is that we’re going through a CaPEx dialback. Basically, CaPEx spending anticipated for this year will be about 2017 levels, and so this is a far cry from just two years ago, when CaPEx spending was significantly higher. And I think this is the type of consolidation play that can, again, keep the others on their toes, but also, quite simply, improve T-Mobile’s position as basically the operators are taking a bit of a breather in terms of CaPEx plans, at least.

And so we’ll see how this will play out, but I think that we’re not going to see a return to say, levels of just two, three years ago over the next couple of years at least, and so stay tuned. I think we’ll see more of these types of moves, again, the consolidation, being able to leverage assets from another party in order to expand and diversify coverage. And with that in mind, let’s look at another player that is not having issues so much with what the customer’s willing to spend on their product, and that is NVIDIA. And the reason why I’m looking at NVIDIA is, really, twofold.

I think we talked about them before, but I think what’s interesting is that now, they’re kicking the tires on private 5G. And what is going on is that they recently received approval from the FCC to build out a private 5G standalone network at its Santa Clara, California headquarters, to really test its implementation with, right now, unnamed O-RAN vendors, although we can deduce who they likely are. But for now, let’s look at what’s going on. I think what’s important here is that NVIDIA is getting on that private 5G bandwagon. And that, I think is demonstrating that there’s a lot of high profile momentum going on in this market segment that I think will help, again, reignite more spending in this specific segment.

And what we’ve seen in terms of high profile deployments are organizations like Tesla, John Deere, Lufthansa Technik basically doing their own implementations. And what I think is interesting is basically, when you looked at Lufthansa Technik’s implementation, is that basically, at their Hamburg facility, they needed basically the civil aviation customers to have a way to attend servicing by using, really, a highly reliable, high resolution video for virtual parts inspection and Borescope examinations. And really, for engine overhaul workshops and other important tasks. And what I think is interesting that they attempted to use virtual inspections with Wi-Fi, or at least unlicensed Wi-Fi. That didn’t meet their specific needs partly because of large metal structures.

And I think this is a prime example of where, “Okay, private 5G can address these specific needs and large sites with lots of industrial requirements or manufacturing, so forth,” but you can bet they’re also using Wi-Fi, for example, in their OT environments and so forth. Now, what I’m looking at in terms of, “How is this adding momentum?,”. Well, I think as of Q2, that we see there are about 2,200 private 5G installations worldwide, and that’s also being accompanied by CAGR expectations that are double-digit over the next three years. So the fact that NVIDIA is testing it out, just, I think, gives more validity to the private 5G use case, but yeah, there’s more.

NVIDIA is also targeting the telco space and has really invested some development effort and also marketing effort in this regard. And so what we’re seeing is that when it comes to portfolio development, the Grace Hopper chip is designed to really multitask in a way that purposely supports new AI applications at the edge, as well as supporting RAN software. And I think this is specific to, really, energizing the IoT and the metaverse use case out there that can include naturally digital twins. And we heard, I think, a good deal about digital twins at Mobility Field Day, for example, and I’m anticipating that this is really how NVIDIA can inject itself into the competitive mix versus the already crowded market in terms of why use NVIDIA chipsets for specific RAN capabilities. Well, we also saw earlier this year at MWC Barcelona that they are a major backer, the AI-RAN Alliance.

And what’s notable here is that also includes RAN vendors, such as Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung, as well as Arm, plus major carriers such as T-Mobile and SoftBank. And what I think is interesting is that SoftBank is already investing in NVIDIA’s GPUs for its network in Japan, at least. And I am really interested in how the demo work is coming along between NVIDIA, Juniper, Fujitsu, and SoftBank because what we’ve seen is that Fujitsu is highlighting substantial performance gains for it’s 5G radios by pairing them with NVIDIA’s Grace Hopper technology, and so stay tuned. This, I think, will be an interesting competitive dynamic, and that the other players out there cannot rest on laurels.

That is, yes, NVIDIA definitely has some homework to do in terms of getting more prominence within the telco space specifically, but I think these are some interesting, yet promising signs. And so, Tom, from your view, what is going on in terms of AI and its impact on the 5G ecosystem, let alone NVIDIA’s ongoing moves here?

Tom Hollingsworth: I think NVIDIA really is looking for an outlet for more of this increased capacity that they’re making. I mean, okay, yeah, go try to buy some of the Grace Hopper stuff or some of the new units that they released, the ones that have to be water-cooled and need a nuclear power plant to operate. And I think what you’ll find is that NVIDIA really, really wants to get this out here. They really want to have a market for all of these chips that they’re manufacturing. They want their GPUs and their TPUs and all this other stuff everywhere, and what better way to do that in the telco space than to prove that you can run O-RAN on top of their hardware, because the whole value behind O-RAN is getting away from these legacy proprietary hardware products that require specialized knowledge to run.

I don’t want to manage that environment. I don’t want to have to read the tea leaves to figure out whether or not the devices in my base station are working or not. I want hardware that is reliable, that is provable. And beyond a couple of years ago, we probably would’ve thought that would’ve been a traditional server from a traditional server manufacturer, running an x86 architecture. But as we’ve seen in the last three, four years, there is a real push for Arm-based architectures to be able to run pretty much any workload. Anyone who’s bought a mobile device or an Apple laptop in the last three years knows the push to get Arm in as many places as possible, and we’ve seen it in AWS as well.

I mean, Graviton is an AWS-based Arm core that a lot more people are starting to write for. So what NVIDIA is going to do is they’re going to come out and they’re going to do all this heavy duty testing, and they’re going to prove that O-RAN runs on their stuff, and then they’re going to go to the vendors, and they’re going to be like, “Well, we can run O-RAN, and you are already going to buy stuff from us anyway. Why not buy more stuff? Install it in your Edge locations, program it so that O-RAN runs on top of it. And, oh, by the way, since it’s already there, you have the world-class AI stack running at the Edge, and you can start doing more AI-related build out there.”

And this is something that they talked about all the way back in January. They started talking about, I believe it was AI networking for telcos, and they’re trying to increase that footprint out there at the Edge, because they know they’ve got the data center locked up, and I think they have about three trillion reasons why they can prove that. But eventually, as we talked about in the previous story, you hit a saturation point. There are only so many more people you can sell to, especially when you’re having to chunk out 70 kilowatts per half rack of equipment and plumb your data center more to be able to cool it.

So now, they’re looking to prove that the software stack of the future runs out there, because if you’re going to have to replace your stuff, if you’re going to have to gut it, and you’re going to have to go with new technology, why not get the biggest, baddest thing you can find? And if it just so happens to run O-RAN, which means now, I have a valid reason for doing it under this CapEx budget, and I can get all these functionalities that everybody wants with all this AI inferencing on the Edge and stuff like that, that’s a win-win, but it’s a win-win-win-win for NVIDIA because then, they get to push more products.

They get to get more embedded into the ecosystem. And if the heavens fall and the bubble pops, and suddenly not everybody needs an AI inferencing SuperCluster, well, we’ve still got this other business that we can fall back on while we try to rearrange what we’re doing, and this is something that Nvidia has done over the years. They weren’t always a titan in the industry. There was a time when they were not doing so hot until they figured out how to flip their GPUs away from just being video game graphics processing units into full-blown compute core systems, so I wouldn’t bet against NVIDIA right here. They’re onto something, I am very curious to see what happens.

Ron Westfall: Yeah, those are excellent points, Tom, because I think Arm, part of the AI-RAN Alliance is, I think, going to have more ongoing interests because to your point, they’ve been able to provide energy efficient designs on the handset side. Now, as we know, there’s different challenges on the infrastructure RAN side of things, however, this is something that I think will keep the tire kicking, if you will, for why Arm, in terms of this part of the overall space. Allso, I think had an excellent point about NVIDIA in terms of its prior success and, for example, the video gaming arena. And part of that is they have, really, a robust ecosystem in place, that includes being able to work with developers, working with those OEM partners and so forth.

And quite simply, they’ll need to emulate that when it comes to certainly the RAN segment. And so the bottom line is that AI-RAN Alliance will hopefully expand in terms of membership and so forth, and so that some of these fundamental channel issues, as well as the nuts and bolts of being able to more easily integrate NVIDIA technology can commence in a smoother way. NVIDIA knows that, but it’s still, again, it’s about executing and seeing how that will play out.

And, well, speaking of important dimensions to the mobile ecosystem, and that is security. And I think this is something that is always present, but I think it needs a shout-out because, again, we’ve seen some security issues pop up, for example, with Google Cloud, and that is something that Fortinet, specifically, does have certainly portfolio acumen and reputation in that regard. And what they did was they recently spotlighted their longstanding commitment to transparency as a early signer of the Secure by Design Pledge that was developed by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA.

Now, CISA’s latest initiative strongly aligns to Fortinet’s existing product development processes, and thus, they’re already based on the Secure by Design and Secure by Default principles. And what this means is that Fortinet is committed to adhering to security scrutiny at all stages of the product development lifecycle, and this is something we don’t hear enough about. I know in the past, we’ve seen that this is where a massive security breach can occur, is during the product building itself, and that’s the last thing anybody needs out there, certainly a security-focused vendor.

And so it supports important dimensions like security product testing, trusted supplier program, information security program, and third-party certification. So this is all coming together alongside Secure Product Development Lifecycle capabilities or SPDLC, yet another acronym for our industry to remember. But I think what’s very important is that from my view, this helps anchor the insights that were provided by the Fortinet presenters, that is Alex Vizzari, Chris Hinsz, Matt Bolick, and Sumanth Gorajala at the Mobility Field Day, that was just conducted recently.

And as a result, I thought that the Fortinet’s Cybersecurity Solutions came across as really being able to help customers intelligently defend across the expanding attack surface out there. And key to this is the Fortinet Security Fabric that can deliver capabilities key to meeting these critical security challenges, and it’s across all the major domains or all the domains that any organization is going to be interested in. That is the networking, application, cloud, and mobile environments. Really, you need a Security Fabric that accounts for all of this. No more of this piecemeal domain-by-domain security implementation will be tolerable certainly today, but let alone into the future.

And so what this is doing is that the Fortinet platform is combining Unified SASE, security operations, secure networking, really, is addressing and protecting the entire tax surface alongside integration ease with the existing infrastructure. I think that is another key selling point. Nobody wants to rip out existing infrastructure in order to accommodate a new security implementation. And so that definitely applies to the wireless implementations out there, whereas we know, Wi-Fi security is still a persistent concern. And so with that, certainly, Tom, you were emceeing the event and the Fortinet session certainly, and what was your impression about why Fortinet, when it comes to network security, especially across wireless and mobility environments?

Tom Hollingsworth: We talk all the time about companies that say they have security in their DNA, but I mean, Fortinet really does. I was using Fortinet firewalls 20 years ago, back before they had letters after the names, back when it was just like the FortiGate 200. And they have been working on this for a long time. They’ve been building a secure system. They’ve been working with companies out there to be able to identify threats more quickly and have systems that lock down easily and those kinds of things. That’s not to say they don’t have their share of bugs. Everybody has a share of bugs, and yes, they’ve had some recently that have not been so great, but the thing is that they’re making the attempt. They’re trying.

And the announcement that came out was as much about showing people that they’re serious about this, because what is the one way that you can prove to the people out there that you are taking security seriously? Let them have a look. “Come on in. Let’s show you.” “Let’s open it up, and you can see what it is.” I believe in the press release, it quoted, “Radical transparency,” which feels like it’s a little bit over the top, but they’re trying to conform to the CISA’s Secure by Design principles, which I … Look, I’m tired of people bolting security on to things after the fact. “Oh, yeah. Well, let’s just get it running, and then eventually we’ll figure out how to make it run over SSL,” because it can be that hard, right?

Oh, it most certainly can, and we’ve seen that with a number of companies. I mean, Fortinet has a big SD-WAN presence. I don’t recall them having an issue with a security certificate expiring and forcing a whole bunch of their devices to just randomly shut off one day. Not that that’s happened to somebody else last year. Maybe. No, they’re looking at it, and then they understand why security is a critical building block of everything going forward. And you might say to yourself, “Well, other companies are really good and they have a wireless-first mentality.” Well, that’s great. And what’s going to happen after that new wireless chip comes out, and what’s going to happen after those new location services come out? You still have to go back to the basics, right?

You still have to go back to things like security. You still have to go back to things like user experience. And if those are bad because you were so focused on the technology, you forgot to figure out how to integrate it with everything else. Then your users are going to make you pay for it, and I think that that is one of the reasons why Fortinet has always stood out. Okay, they’re not on the super bleeding edge of everything, but I would rather get to the bleeding edge a little slower with a little bit more security than just throw things out there. Hope they kind of work, be a draft spec or what have you, and then have to come back later and fix it. So bravo to Chris and Sumanth and all the guys there. They’re taking the product development perspective with a healthy dose of, “We need to still make sure that our users are protected,” and some days you just don’t get that from a lot of other people in the industry.

Ron Westfall: Yeah. Those are all excellent points. And, again, I think I find it refreshing when others are zigging, basically Fortinet zagged, and that is, let’s look at the fundamentals here. It’s about, “Can we actually assure you that our products are secure from the inception phase all the way through the entire lifecycle?” And this is something that I think is kind of a return to fundamentals. The blocking tackling is being taken care of. And I think, yeah, to your point, it’s like the fragmented security implementations out there are an ongoing legacy issue. They’re not easy to fix, but Fortinet does actually provide a path forward, and without having risky disruption being part of that transition.

And so that, I think is something that will be a key differentiator because, yes, having wireless security is fundamental, and having, say a capability like Unified SASE is important, but guess what? All the other vendors out there are going to make those same claims, but can they take it to that next level? I.e., we can assure that that wireless security is going to be aligned, administered, and basically in full cohesion, in accordance with the security that has to be implemented in the cloud. The security that has to be in other parts of the network, i.e., “Now, how cohesive is it?” And this is where I think Fortinet really can make some more headway, not just in the wireless sphere, but also across the overall networking market.

And so with that, thank you all again for joining our conversation, and certainly, thank you again, Tom, for hopping on. Again, we have some exciting Tech Field Days on the horizon here.

Tom Hollingsworth: We do. We’re going to be at Cisco Live. We have Cloud Field Day coming up, which is the second week of June. Then, we are, of course, going to be at Networking Field Day Exclusive at HPE Discover with our friends from HPE Aruba Networking. Make sure you go over to You can catch the lineup of all the things that we’ve got going on. I mean, I’m not even telling you about some of the other cool stuff, like we’re going to be at Qlik Connect next week. We’ve got some other interesting things coming up. Of course, we have a Networking Field day coming up in July. Just go to, look down the list, mark your favorite things, we’ll have calendar invites. You’re not going to miss anything, I promise you.

Ron Westfall: Yeah, that is certainly important, and then I know. I’m looking forward to all of it, but also, in particular, Networking Field Day, since being in person is always, I think, helpful. And also, don’t forget to bookmark 5G Factor. I think this is something that will become increasingly important because of the very topics we discussed today, and AI is certainly part of that. And with that, everyone, have a great 5G and AI day, and until next time.

Other Insights from The Futurum Group:

Fortinet Presents at Mobility Field Day 11

5G Factor: Private 5G Kindling

5G Factor: Making AI Open, Responsible, and Transparent

Author Information

Ron is an experienced, customer-focused research expert and analyst, with over 20 years of experience in the digital and IT transformation markets, working with businesses to drive consistent revenue and sales growth.

He is a recognized authority at tracking the evolution of and identifying the key disruptive trends within the service enablement ecosystem, including a wide range of topics across software and services, infrastructure, 5G communications, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), analytics, security, cloud computing, revenue management, and regulatory issues.

Prior to his work with The Futurum Group, Ron worked with GlobalData Technology creating syndicated and custom research across a wide variety of technical fields. His work with Current Analysis focused on the broadband and service provider infrastructure markets.

Ron holds a Master of Arts in Public Policy from University of Nevada — Las Vegas and a Bachelor of Arts in political science/government from William and Mary.


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Shimon Ben David, CTO at WEKA, joins Dave Nicholson and Alastair Cooke to share his insights on how WEKA's innovative solutions, particularly the WEKApod Data Platform Appliance, are revolutionizing storage for AI workloads, setting a new benchmark for performance and efficiency.
The Futurum Group team assesses how the global impact of the recent CrowdStrike IT outage has underscored the critical dependency of various sectors on cybersecurity services, and how this incident highlights the vulnerabilities in digital infrastructure and emphasizes the necessity for robust cybersecurity measures and resilient deployment processes to prevent widespread disruptions in the future.
On this episode of The Six Five Webcast, hosts Patrick Moorhead and Daniel Newman discuss CrowdStrike Global meltdown, Meta won't do GAI in EU or Brazil, HP Imagine AI 2024, TSMC Q2FY24 earnings, AMD Zen 5 Tech Day, Apple using YouTube to train its models, and NVIDIA announces Mistral NeMo 12B NIM.