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Flexibility, Agility, and Host of New Network Features Delivered by Latest Broadband Forum Specification

Flexibility, Agility, and Host of New Network Features Delivered by Latest Broadband Forum Specification

More stable networks, greater interoperability, and cost savings for operators will become possible thanks to the latest technical report published by Broadband Forum. The second issue of Technical Report-459 will enable improved resiliency, scalability, and faster deployment times, which will give end-users a more reliable and more consistent service.

“TR-459 Issue 2 includes an additional layer of flexibility to manage subscriber resiliency, simplifying operations and streamlining provisioning and maintenance,” said Jonathan Newton, Co-Director of the Access and Transport Architecture Work Area at Broadband Forum from Vodafone.

“These characteristics are all the more critical in a post-COVID world in which more people are using their home broadband access services to manage their lives, including working and shopping online,” added Mr Newton.

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Any faults that can cause network outages can be navigated around as the new specification enables the brain of the network (known as the Control Plane, responsible for managing interactions with the customer home router) to intelligently determine whether a switchover to a new User Plane is needed. The User Plane carries network traffic and enforces policies such as Quality of Service (QoS).

“The latest release of the TR-459 standard will continue to drive standards-based interoperability between vendors, with Broadband Forum simplifying network transformation and ensuring more agility and flexibility for broadband operators,” said Craig Thomas, Vice President Strategic Marketing and Business Development at Broadband Forum. “Our work on a Multi-Service Disaggregated Broadband Network Gateway (DBNG) continues to make it easier to deliver fixed broadband services quickly to new and existing customers as the industry continues to transition and offers a migration path from legacy infrastructures to a future agile cloud native approach.”

Standardization of the Control and User Plane Separation (CUPS) for a Multi-Service DBNG enables the Control Plane from one vendor to control and manage the User Plane from another vendor. This builds a more diverse supply chain with a greater choice of Control and User Planes from different vendors leveraging the TR-459 standard.

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Broadband Forum members showcased the important capabilities enabled by TR-459 Issue 2 as part of the CloudCO Demonstration at Network X 2022. The demo highlighted Subscriber Group Resiliency and switchover, and DBNG-User Plane traffic steering. The network monitored the subscriber traffic SLAs and when the SLAs were not being met, switched the subscribers to the backup DBNG-User Plane. Subscriber Group Resiliency minimizes network outages during any network faults.

Within the network, the BNG is the portal through which subscribers gain access to the internet, and traditionally, operators have had to purchase a second BNG to scale up, sometimes not using all the available Control Plane capacity. But disaggregation ensures operational simplicity by centralizing the Control Plane, negating the need for Control Planes to be set up for each BNG introduced.

The global TR-459 standard was first trialed by Vodafone, Benu Networks, Casa Systems, Cisco, and Nokia, in September 2021 at test labs across Europe, the United States, and Asia-Pacific. In the trial, the companies were able to validate multi-vendor interoperability for a disaggregated BNG system with the core control functions of the gateway, such as authenticating a user and increasing bandwidth to support streaming services, separated and managed in the cloud.

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