The Broadband Forum is the central body for end-to-end broadband access and core network architecture, testing and management specifications. It is a global consortium of approximately 200 leading industry players including network service providers, network and customer premises equipment, chipset companies, test equipment and laboratories, regulatory bodies, educational institutions and consultants. Established in 1994, originally as the ADSL Forum and later the DSL Forum, the Broadband Forum united with the IP/MPLS Forum to broaden its focus over the entire networking infrastructure.
The Broadband Forum is the leader in identifying common broadband requirements and critical areas of development, and bringing together resources and service migration solutions for all broadband stakeholders globally.
Specifically the Broadband Forum:
•Leads a collaboration of service providers, hardware vendors and other broadband stakeholders in identifying needs and gaps
in technical standards / industry specifications, particularly in the areas of:
•Is a federation of technical and marketing experts in Broadband who are organized into specialist Working Groups that are
focused on specific areas of concern in the development of technology solutions
•Provides cutting-edge technical solutions that meet identified gaps that complement established industry standards
•Collaborates with other industry fora and SDO's on areas of mutual interest; striving to reduce overlap of technical work and
to be the catalyst for the evolution of broadband
•Makes technology choices that help ‘glue’ broadband standards into end-to-end solutions; and
•Leads advocacy and education efforts to ensure specification adoption and industry convergence around migration solutions
Since 1994, the Broadband Forum has developed more than 150 specifications, and over the years, the forum expanded its DSL oriented work to address fiber and core testing, architecture, management and LAN support to ensure that service providers can effectively deploy and manage hybrid networks from a single IP-centric platform.
With so many specifications developed, in 2005 the Forum launched BroadbandSuite™ Releases, which group the technical work specifications into solution sets, providing migration strategies, architecture enhancements and continued network and remote management improvements.
BroadbandSuite™ Releases to date include:
Some of the key Network specifications to date are global test suites for ADSL, SHDSL ADSL2/2plus and VDSL2. New work is focused on bonding, vectoring and energy enhancements for DSL. Fiber related work centers around PON testing, including G-PON Conformance Certification, E-PON test plans and ONU/OLT interoperability. Finally, new work around LTE ready mobile backhaul options and TDM/ATM/IP/Ethernet encapsulation over MPLS test suites are in development and will ensure effective broadband convergence.
Specifications for network architecture have established a universal foundation for IP-based broadband networks with highly configurable traffic aggregation and management providing the quality of service (QoS) necessary to support a wide variety of services in a common network.
Management work includes specifications for network management, policy control and OSS. Some of the key areas addressed are protocol independent management models, broadband troubleshooting best practices including a new DSL Quality Management (DQM) Suite, Layer 2 control mechanisms and current work around developing the policy control framework for fixed line operators.
In the Connected User related work, establishing the industry standard, CPE WAN Management Protocol (TR-069) and its family of associated data models, was a major milestone as it is access agnostic, and is now broadly referenced by other organizations as the global standard protocol for remote management. Adding Data Models for new device and software modules as they emerged has empowered service providers to effectively provision and maintain the host of new applications and devices that come online. Current work is focused on leveraging the power and flexibility of TR-069 in the field of M2M, Business Services and Cloud based services.
To view the current work in progress, check out the Technical Work in Progress page.
For a more detailed overview of the early 1994-2004 ADSL Forum history please click HERE.
Prior to uniting with the Broadband Forum, the IP/MPLS Forum had a long parallel history of industry leadership. The IP/MPLS Forum started initially as three distinct forums: the ATM Forum, the Frame Relay Forum and the MPLS Forum, and grew out of the evolution of IP transport technology.
The key development from this organization was the development of global standard implementation agreements, industry-wide educational programs, and multi-vendor interoperability testing.
In 2008, the IP/MPLS Forum was determined to follow technology convergence and looked to unite with another organization that had a similar vision of the future and the activities required to continue to drive the global success of MPLS. In that search, various organizations shared similar goals, scope or membership but there was one that stood out as the strongest candidate - the Broadband Forum.
In May 2009, the two Forums united, and are focused on driving the evolution to next generation IP networks and empowering fixed mobile convergence evolution. With the Broadband Forum's focus spanning from broadband network to digital home management, their work complements the work of the IP/MPLS Forum, which primarily addresses the core and access aggregation. Expanding the Broadband Forum's objectives to encompass the next phase of IP/MPLS Forum work will ensure seamless broadband network optimization and convergence for the industry.
Best practices for auto-configuration, flow-through provisioning, equipment interoperability and other key facilitators of scalable, global, mass-market deployment of broadband, are developed through a contribution based system and fast-tracked based on service provider and industry market priorities.
A Service Provider Action Council (SPAC) provides an opportunity at each meeting for the providers to meet separately and discuss best practices, issues and opportunities as well as to come together as a collective voice to identify the top initiatives for each year. With this input, the Broadband Forum stays aligned with real world requirements and the Technical Reports (TRs) that are released, have immediate application.
Each member company contributes to the work of the Forum by participating in technical and marketing working groups, sharing their knowledge, experience and expertise to create common, agreed protocols, processes and best practice recommendations for use by the industry and for standards and other related industry bodies.
This work takes place at quarterly, week-long meetings and through the continuous activity of Technical and Marketing working groups.
Through its marketing activities - an extensive, continuous global public and industry education campaign, the Broadband Forum also ensures a growing international understanding of the benefits of broadband.
In meeting its core objectives, the Broadband Forum continues to establish essential and proven processes for broadband delivery that accelerate the delivery of broadband to the mass market and optimizes the quality of service and experience to the customer.
Technical Reports (TRs), Marketing Reports (MRs) and past IP/MPLS specifications are all available for use throughout the global industry and are available free from our website at http://www.broadband-forum.org/technical/trlist.php.