Open standards development organization Broadband Forum is making key progress on delivering a vastly improved broadband user experience with two new specifications nearing completion. Covering Quality Attenuation and IP Capacity Metrics and Measurements, the specifications will enable operators to achieve enhanced network performance by moving away from the conventional metric of capacity or ‘speed’, in favor of real time monitoring of network performance and operation.
Ahead of the new technical specifications – Quality Attenuation Architecture and Requirements (WT-452.1) and Maximum IP-Layer Capacity Metric, Related Metrics, and Measurements (WT-471) – Broadband Forum’s Access and Transport Architecture (ATA) Work Area has released two new white papers from its Performance, Experience and Application Testing (PEAT) Project Stream.
“While capacity or speed is necessary, what customers actually want is for all their applications to just work consistently well; such as video streams without glitches or buffering, video calls, remote working, or uninterrupted gaming,” notes Gavin Young, Head of Fixed Access Centre of Excellence – Vodafone. “As emphasis is increasingly placed on the quality of broadband, operators can no longer differentiate on capacity alone, and instead must look to also measure and manage the reliability, network responsiveness, consistency and predictability of the services offered.”
Radisys has announced a new disaggregated passive optical network (PON) platform to help service providers bring services to market at a faster rate. Radisys’ Connect Open Broadband embraces disaggregation by separating the software from the underlying hardware. Connect Open Broadband was constructed using the Open Networking Foundation’s SEBA and VOLTHA reference architectures.
The Open Networking Foundation’s SDN Enabled Broadband Access (SEBA) platform describes how to assemble a collection of open source components to build a virtualized PON network to deliver residential broadband and mobile backhaul. SEBA uses a disaggregated white-box approach for building next-generation access networks by using open source.
The architecture works with the Broadband Forum’s OB-BAA architecture by conforming to the standard YANG models with the Northbound Interface (NBI). The solution is access network agnostic across GPON, XGS-PON and NG-PON2.
Confirming its intention to be a key partner to telcos in the 5G era, Microsoft has announced the acquisition of Metaswitch Networks, a respected and influential developer of virtualized network functions and traditional voice, data and networking systems.
The news comes only weeks after Microsoft closed the acquisition of Affirmed Networks, a developer of cloud-based mobile core solutions.
What links these two mergers and acquisitions moves is Microsoft’s intention to position its Azure cloud platform as a key foundation for mobile operators’ 5G plans, providing a cloud-native and flexible platform upon which Communication Service Providers can run their network elements. That will particularly come into play as edge computing starts to play a role in distributed telco cloud platform strategies and as more and more operators strike partnerships with the cloud giants.
“As cloud and communication networks converge, Microsoft intends to leverage the talent and technology of these two organizations and extend the Azure platform to deploy and grow these capabilities at scale in a way that is secure, efficient and creates a sustainable ecosystem,” noted Microsoft in its announcement.
8K video is still hard to come by. Still, engineers and other video tech specialists are already putting a lot of thought into how to deliver content in the pixel-packed format without causing networks to buckle under the strain.
There’s not much 8K fare in the wild yet. There’s also a dearth of TVs and displays that can handle 8K, with the latest sales forecast from the Consumer Technology Association expecting about 504,000 8K TV units to be sold in the US this year. These things will only be a problem if 8K somehow becomes mainstream.
Speaking on a panel dedicated to 8K delivery at NAB Digital Express, an online event built as an alternative to the canceled NAB 2020 show, Thierry Fautier, Vice President of Video Strategy at Harmonic, said on the panel that 8K broadcasts in Japan eat up about 85 Mbit/s, but demonstrations of compression techniques have been able to trim that down to about 27 Mbit/s. Samsung, meanwhile, has been using a set of codecs to stream 8K content – HEVC, AV9 and AV1 (a royalty-free compression format) – to help get bandwidth requirements to a manageable level, Fautier added.
He warned that a new codec would likely be required when 8K starts to scale up.
Change is in the air for the telecommunications sector as vendors and service providers grapple with the fallout from COVID-19. While it may be too soon to carve all of the changes into granite, it does seem as though the industry is headed towards the dawning of a new era.
The lessons learned to date are that, for the most part, service providers were largely well equipped to meet the 30% to 40% increase in bandwidth demand on their networks as millions of employees and students became home bound.
World Wide Technology’s Neil Anderson, senior director of network solutions, expects a hybrid-working environment to emerge.
“So with the employees, we don’t expect that there’s going to be a return of 100% going back to central working locations and office locations,” Anderson said. “It depends on the industry. You can’t be a surgeon and work from home. But for knowledge working at carpeted office spaces, we think that there’s actually going to be a significant reduction somewhere on the order of 30% to 40% of the employees continuing to work from home.”
Sub-Saharan Africa has seen steady growth in mobile broadband coverage in recent years and this trend shows no signs of slowing. Indeed, the GSMA’s figures show that in 2018 around 23% of the population were mobile internet users, with this figure expected to rise to 39% by 2025.
While this naturally presents telcos with less profitable fixed broadband opportunities, the focus on mobile connectivity instead opens up new revenue streams, such as a booming app and digital content market in these non-English speaking regions. Streaming services in particular have a huge potential market in the region, with Akinwale Goodluck, the GSMA’s head of Sub-Saharan Africa, citing Netflix’s recent mobile-only tariff in India as a sign of things to come for the African market.
However, an explosion of content is not enough to drive more users to the internet.
“Music and video are big drivers for internet adoption and big traffic in Sub-Saharan Africa, but the reality is that we still must find a compelling proposition for a lot of people in Sub-Saharan Africa to come online,” explained Goodluck.
Developed a USP Agent? Test its smarts – and interoperability – with Broadband Forum’s USP certification program
Broadband Forum is in the final stages of preparing to launch its USP Certification Program. The program will enable member companies to have their certified equipment listed in a Broadband Forum Certification project registry, similar to the Gfast list of Certified Interoperable Products and Companies. At the launch of the program, there will be a press release and additional marketing outreach about the program and the first certified devices.
This first USP Certification Program will focus on testing USP Agents according to the requirements of Broadband Forum TP-469 and its forthcoming corrigendum document.
If you are a non-member who is interested in the program, and would like to join a growing number of member companies involved with Broadband Forum, please contact Rhonda Heier at email@example.com.
Once launched, the USP Certification program will enable participants to perform self-testing utilizing the approved certification tool. Once the participant is satisfied with their test results, they will submit them to an approved testing lab for a final review and approval process.