Status of “Software Defined” in Broadband Access Networks: Finally moving from concept to reality
2019.05.29 – Ovum
Ovum’s latest report explores Software-Defined access initiatives within the industry. In particular the report looks at Broadband Forum’s latest initiatives including OB-BAA and CloudCO, making recommendations for CSPs and vendors. To purchase the full Ovum report, please visit: https://ovum.informa.com/resources/product-content/status-of-quotsoftware-definedquot-in-broadband-access-networks-spt002-000214
‘The BBF started the CloudCO project in 2016. CloudCO is a recasting of the Central Office-hosting infrastructure that utilizes SDN, NFV, and cloud technologies to support network functions. Broadband Access Abstraction (BAA) was introduced to support access nodes within the context of CloudCO. BAA is an abstraction layer that exposes a simplified view of access devices. It facilitates vendor coexistence and faster migration to cloud-based access networks while supporting a variety of SDN technologies and implementations. Basically, OB-BAA provides a standardized vendor-agnostic northbound interface for SDN management and control entities while enabling non-standard or modified approaches at southbound interfaces.
Release 2.0, published in March 2019, expanded the types of proprietary access nodes that can be managed and controlled via the BAA layer, including both NETCONF/YANG and other protocols. CSPs can manage libraries of YANG modules suitable for various access node types, such as OLTs, ONTs and DPUs. The project includes examples of YANG modules based on the BBF’s TR-413 SDN Management and Control Interfaces for CloudCO Network Functions. Project code resides on GitHub, and contributors develop the work within the BFF’s open broadband hosting environment with vendor interoperability testing through Open Broadband labs in Asia, Europe and North America.
Operators involved with the BBF’s OB-BAA include BT, CenturyLink, China Telecom, China Unicom and Telecom Italia, while participating vendors and lab partners include Altice Labs, Calix, Huawei, KEYMILE, Nokia, Tibit, ZTE’ and UNH.’
‘While it is too early to evaluate OB-BAA implementations, this BBF initiative is attracting interest among a significant number of operators and vendors. Several vendors have developed SD access solutions using standardized YANG models, and these solutions are being deployed by operators.
First, the focus is around abstraction versus virtualization, a less difficult goal to attain. OB-BAA is built on the premise that disaggregation and virtualization are different steps, occurring at difference paces according to operator requirements. For example, operators want to improve the time and resources required to ensure interoperability between OLTs and ONTs/ONUs from different vendors. OB-BAA supports this process without requiring virtualization of either OLTs or ONTs/ONUs. Several vendors mentioned that they are answering RFPs that include OB-BAA compliance.
The BBF has a successful track record building and implementing access standards across the ecosystem. For example, its technical report, known as TR-069, defines an application layer protocol for remote management of CPEs. According to BBF, an estimated 1 billion devices worldwide use this protocol.’