Accelerating network management and automation via Common YANG
By Joey Boyd and Sven Ooghe, Co-Directors of Broadband Forum’s Common YANG Work Area
As we enter a new digitalized era, technologies are evolving quicker and quicker, taking advantage of existing fiber connectivity capabilities and demanding new ones every day. With demand for network capacity, particularly fiber deployments, continuing to mount, operators are constantly looking for ways to make their operations more efficient and more cost-effective. Automating the configuration and control of network elements is one way of doing this but as a growing concept, ensuring interoperability has been and continues to be a key concern.
Broadband Forum’s Common YANG Work Area addresses this challenge by defining YANG data models for functionality which is common across access network equipment of various physical layer technologies. In addition, the Work Area maintains a set of best practices for defining YANG models within Broadband Forum and provides support to other Work Areas to ensure all Broadband Forum YANG models are consistent. This ensures processes, procedures and tools are maintained across the industry.
This initiative has seen a number of developments since the Work Area was created. The Forum published its first YANG models for Fiber-To-The-distribution point (FTTdp) management software specifications in 2016. This allows operators to configure and control fiber-fed nodes (DPUs) in the periphery of the access network using advanced software-based techniques, enabling interoperability for FTTdp management. This opened the door to agile, ultra-fast broadband services and provides further stimulus for developing technologies such as Gfast, delivering fiber-like speeds for customers connected by copper cables.
The pioneering software-driven deliverable enables operators to manage standardized FTTdp network elements from multiple vendors, giving more choice and flexibility as ultrafast networks are built out. Equipment Manufacturers also benefit from the set of defined industry standards needed by the operators that create a baseline for implementation. It also reduces the integration complexity of adding new network elements as networks scale and evolve to meet demanding customer requirements for advanced, assured and ultra-fast broadband services.
In addition to the FTTdp management software specifications, the Work Area’s cornerstone is TR-383 which defines Common YANG Modules for Access Networks. This provides data models for a broad area of functionality, including:
- Layer 2 forwarding
- Layer 2 multicast
- VLAN tag manipulation
- Quality of Service including classification, scheduling, policing and shaping
- Subscriber protocols – DHCPv4, DHCPv6 and PPPoE
- Hardware management including transceivers and resource management
- Software management
- Access Network Control Protocol
Amendment 3 of TR-383 is among the groups current priorities as it continues to specify YANG modules that are applicable across all Broadband Forum Work Areas and the entire broadband industry. The updated specification is currently going through the final stages of approval within Broadband Forum, with this work further enhancing suite of YANG Modules by including software management, Quality of Service (QoS) enhancements and Access Node Control Protocol (ANCP), as well as several other updates facilitating flexible service configuration and troubleshooting. This will allow service providers to further facilitate the deployment of YANG-enabled ultrafast broadband over VDSL, FAST and Passive Optical Networks (PON).
Additionally, the Work Area is further honing YANG models for Fiber-To-The-distribution point (FTTdp) management software to enable management of bonded DSL lines and ease the path towards supporting the IETF Network Management Datastore Architecture (NMDA).
Other ongoing work includes reviews of YANG for access network mapping and equipment inventory and YANG for managing Broadband Network Gateways (BNGs). These initiatives are being carried out with the SDN/NFV Work Area and the Access Transport Architecture Work Area, respectively.
Why Broadband Forum
By providing open access to a wide variety of YANG models, including ‘work in progress’ ones, Broadband Forum is ensuring the entire broadband industry can use YANG models more quickly, providing a key enabler in the evolution towards more agile and programmable networks. The Forum’s work on YANG combines its domain expertise in broadband management with the efficiency of software-driven practices, helping operators to take advantage of new technologies with the assurance of interoperability that standards provide.