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 CO’s 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 Forum’s 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.
In this insightful Light Reading radio show, Kurt Raaflaub, Head of Strategic Solutions Marketing, will outline the key service provider challenges, deployment considerations, next-gen Gigabit technologies, and service models to win market share in the rapidly growing MDU market.
The MDU market continues to face fierce competition among service providers due to tech-savvy residents (i.e., millennials), demand from building owners and management companies, plus the favorable economics of bulk contracts. However, no MDUs are the same, so service providers must use multiple technologies and inconsistent deployment models, increasing operational complexity and rollout costs.
The MDU market itself is evolving as residents adopt smart-home technologies, generating rising demand for smart apartments with built-in connected thermostats, keyless entryways and doors, and video doorbells. This evolution presents both new challenges and opportunities. In other words, service providers must consider innovative service-delivery strategies to compete and win.
In this Broadband World News and ADTRAN webinar, Kurt Raaflaub, Head of Strategic Solutions Marketing, will highlight emerging MDU broadband Internet trends and challenges. In addition, Kurt will outline the next-generation service creation and delivery platform, built on open standards, that allows service providers to connect millions of underserved MDUs, enables creation of user-driven services, and reduces operational complexity and costs.
Plus, special guest, Alice Lawson, Broadband and Cable Program Manager for the City of Seattle, will discuss Seattle’s B4B-Build For Broadband initiative that addresses best practices in planning for MDU telecommunication infrastructure.