Putting Cloud at the Heart of New Broadband Networks
As we enter the next phase of broadband deployment and cloud services become more widely distributed, the industry as a whole is making promises of higher performance and rapid availability of new revenue-generating services. But can cloud technology deliver on this vision or is the industry pursuing a pipe dream?
A major industry initiative currently being undertaken by the Broadband Forum aims to ensure the huge potential the cloud holds for broadband networks is realized, by enabling new services and bringing cloud services and access networks closer together.
Cloud Central Office (Cloud CO), an open interface and cloud-based broadband framework, is located at the heart of the broadband network and serves as a unifying framework for new technologies and important service developments.
This provides a single agile, scalable and dynamic network with all varieties of access technologies, meeting several key service provider requirements including reduced capex, migration and opex costs, as well as fast time-to-market for innovative new value-added services to allow innovative new business models. Cloud COís functionality can be accessed through a northbound API, allowing operators or third parties to consume its functionality, while hiding how the functionality is achieved from the API consumer.
A new era of connectivity
To achieve the agility, scalability and dynamism service providers crave, Cloud CO leverages a number of design principles such as software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization techniques, commodity compute and networking platforms, virtual network functions (VNFs) and cloud-like APIs.
It also encompasses various Broadband Forum initiatives, including virtualization projects like the Virtual Business Gateway, Fiber Access Network Sharing (FANS) and the User Services Platform which expands the TR-069 specification beyond gateways and into device control, the Internet of Things (IoT), YANG modelling for access network management and carrier-grade on-premises WiFi. Additionally, Cloud CO is a focal point for converged networks, enabling the new generation of hybrid wireless-wireline services that will be key to the success of 5G.
From a structural perspective, Cloud CO reference architecture combines SDN and NFV over a hybrid physical and NFV infrastructure, which addresses the twin issues of coexistence and migration from existing networks. The latter orchestrates and manages the virtual functions and infrastructure, while the former controls data plane interactions among the Physical Network Functions (PNFs), VNFs and switch fabric. At the center of the whole architecture (and home to the northbound API), is the Cloud CO Domain Orchestrator, orchestrating across the southbound SDN Controllers and the NFV management and operation functions.
The CloudCO User Managed Objects Framework project creates a cloud-based user interface framework and a user-managed oriented objects template that any provider can use. This aims to satisfy customer requirements such as SD-WAN, where the customer wants WAN resource telemetry in the user browsers, portals and for use by their applications.
The second key project is Broadband Access Abstraction Open Source, which addresses the requirements, architecture, design and software required to support virtualization of access device functionality to enable an open and interoperable unified management interface for access equipment from different vendors. This project will be managed under the Forumís agile Open Broadband software initiative, allowing for member and non-member participation to create a fast feedback loop between the specifications and the source code reference implementation that supports them.
The two software projects are spearheaded by groups of key operators and their manufacturer partners. With this sort of collaboration and standards-based approach, we are confident the possibilities of the new era of broadband can be realized for the benefit of the whole industry.
— Robin Mersh, CEO, Broadband Forum
Interoperability is as important as ever as new broadband technologies enter the market, notes Broadband Forum CEO Robin Mersh.
As Vice President of Global Healthcare at AT&T, Maria Lensing oversees the telecommunications operator's technology and professional services offerings across the spectrum of medical providers, from solo practitioners and walk-in clinics to giant hospital chains, medical-device vendors and consulting firms. Lensing also sees more interest from traditional service providers -- cable and telecom operators looking to expand or build relationships with their own medical communities, perhaps as an adjunct to smart-home successes or standalone.
Lensing, who took on this role almost a year ago in May 2018, oversees both the sales and technical teams responsible for developing growth initiatives for AT&T's Global Healthcare business -- including products, services and industry-specific solutions. She also very actively promotes business minority inclusion, education and female empowerment programs and has been recognized both within and outside AT&T. Some awards she's received include "Top 40 Under 40" and "Super Woman in Business" from the Memphis Business Journal.
Join Maria Lensing, VP of Global Healthcare at AT&T, on Tuesday, April 23 at 12:00 p.m. ET / 9:00 p.m. PT, when she's the guest on BBWN Radio, hosted by Broadband World News Editor Alison Diana. Register now!
So far, the agenda includes a discussion of technologies such as fiber and 5G; defining the needs and solutions for a widely diverse range of customers; partnering for success in a typically slow-moving, budget-constrained market; learning and dispersing best practices from other verticals and within other business groups; promoting diversity and female empowerment when so many say they're doing so but so little has changed; and what she hopes to accomplish in another year in this role.
Register and post your questions for Maria on BBWN Radio's easy-to-use chat board. We will get to as many questions as possible. Please post questions before and during the broadcast. Once you've registered, you will be led to the chat board page. Talk to you on April 23!
Tune in to Broadband World News Radio on February 14 at 11 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. PT / 4 p.m. UK when John Isch, Practice Director of the Network and Voice Center of Excellence at Orange Business Services, discusses use cases, ROI and misconceptions of software-defined wide-area networks, virtualization and cloud.
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More Industry Announcements
- Windstream Expands 1-Gig Fiber to 7,000+ Sites in Albemarle
Friday, April 19, 2019
- ADTRAN Reports Q1 2019 Earnings, Declares Quarterly Cash Dividend
Thursday, April 18, 2019
- Viasat Teams With Ruralweb for Brazilian Satellite Broadband
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
- Fiber-Optic Test Equipment Wants to Simplify Optical Networks: Report
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
- AMC Networks Chooses Arris for Future Satellite Distribution Architecture
Wednesday, April 3, 2019
- CSP IdeaTek Partners With Calix to Simplify Network Operations & Deliver Enhanced CX
Wednesday, April 3, 2019
- Ex-Ericsson Exec Rigoni Joins TIM as Procurement Head
Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Tuesday, April 30, 2019
11:00 a.m. New York / 4:00 p.m London
Just when you thought the answer to your next technology direction question was clear, the noise around multiple new technology options fills the Internet and airwaves. Multiple 5Gs are being deployed; there's CableLabs' 10G initiative; the ITU and IEEE are toiling around 50G PON Ė and we havenít even talked about Wi-Fi6 yet! Is any of this real, do you have to pay attention or can you just let the dust settle and then decide?
Since waiting is often not the best option, letís demystify technology options, their impact on your business, and how to prepare for whatever the future brings.
In this webinar, Service Providers will learn:
- Current state of 5G and how it affects everyone, not only mobile network providers.
- Latest technologies being developed and how they will benefit their networks and subscribers.
- How to prepare their networks for the future Ė whatever it may hold.
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