Advanced Television

Broadband Forum in major cloud-native network cost breakthrough

May 20, 2022

Operators globally now have the tools to flexibly plan and build their cloud-native networks and deliver faster services to their customers, thanks to Broadband Forum publishing Release 5.0 of its Open Broadband – Broadband Access Abstraction (OB-BAA) open-source project.

With the Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) market expected to reach $122 billion by 2027, the latest release is another step that enables service providers to welcome the benefits of cloudification to their networks, but just as importantly, it offers a migration plan from their existing network investments.

The release offers new functionality to identify and authenticate Optical Network Units (ONUs) – that exist in an end-user’s home or office – using policy based authentication within the operator’s cloud network, which is critical if operators seek to deliver a seamless customer experience.

“Operators continue to integrate their processes with cloud-native ecosystems and embrace virtualisation to build and scale their networks while making sure that these new network architectures are compatible with their existing infrastructure,” said Craig Thomas, Vice President Strategic Marketing and Business Development at Broadband Forum. “This news will deliver on the promise of next-generation broadband, while reducing service providers’

costs and protecting their investments at the same time. It is a major step in the deployment of cloud-native networks.”

Operators’ costs for on-boarding and deploying new ONU brands and models are also significantly reduced thanks to the disaggregation of the ONU function embedded within the Optical Line Terminal (OLT). This additional flexibility addresses the big engineering and operations problem of having embedded functions in both ONUs and OLTs and continues to allow operators to migrate their existing access networks toward cloud-native SDN automated networks.

The policy based approach gives the operator the flexibility to identify and/or authenticate the ONU anywhere within the operator’s network – from the OLT to operator’s OSS or BSS systems. Release 5.0 also enhances the functionality for disaggregating the management of ONUs from the OLT into the operator’s network with new features to handle ONU alarms.

With the ability for the OB-BAA platform to utilize functionality that has been disaggregated from the traditional access node and virtualised within the operator’s cloud-native network, Release 5.0 integrates with cloud-native ecosystems such as Kubernetes to monitor the virtualized functions. This also helps identify the topologies of the virtualized functions that can be used by the OB-BAA platform in managing the access network.

Broadband Forum and University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) will be hosting a Plugfest in the future for vendors to certify their products and make sure they are compliant with Release 5.0 of the OB-BAA open-source project.

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