Open Broadband Labs

The combination of Broadband Forum’s Open Broadband, Open Broadband Labs, and CloudCo initiatives are providing an industry sandbox to accelerate multi-vendor innovation and incubation in areas like 5G, network slicing, and wireless-wireline convergence.

Although the concepts of Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) have been around for many years now, carriers have struggled to leverage these promising technologies to make transformational impacts to their networks. Over the last few years, Broadband Forum – the communications industry’s leading organization focused on accelerating broadband innovation, standards, and ecosystem development – has been developing a variety of complementary initiatives that provide a comprehensive set of resources and tools to help carriers rapidly implement meaningful change. These initiatives involve an open framework for cloud-based broadband called Open Broadband Labs, and a growing series of CloudCO Application Notes which define a number of operator use cases and act as a blueprint for test to be performed in the labs. Together, these initiatives are accelerating network transformation and migration to a cloud-based broadband infrastructure for carriers globally, and bringing the promise of SDN and NFV to fruition.

The future of broadband will be the result of the marriage between the flexibility, innovation, and speed of an “open software” with the discipline, efficiencies, and global scale made possible by “open standards”. The Open Broadband initiative brings together the best ideas of an open source with the interoperability and standards required for mass market solutions, thereby acceleration true innovation and scale in the industry. Key to this strategy has been the creation of an array of Open Broadband Labs around the world to enable open source collaboration and ensure interoperability.

Carsten Rossenhoevel (EANTC), Managing Director and co-founder of EANTC talks about the announcement and ramp of Open Broadband Labs - Europe

Open Broadband Labs offer a common hardware and software platform for an open laboratory to promote the development of network transformation and cloud evolution leveraging open source software. Each Open Broadband Lab is a collaborative industry resource that encompasses proprietary, “open” source and standard implementations coming together to represent service provider existing and planned deployments. The initial intention for the scope of the Open Broadband Labs are:

  • A rich set of test resources to be used for staging, functional, performance, interoperability, testing and continuous integration of broadband NFV/SDN, CloudCo, cloud-based services and applications, management, and orchestration
  • Provides the industry and BBF members with defined interfaces and reference test environment for how their products and solutions can fit into the NFV/SDN cloud-based architecture
  • The Forum’s motivation stems from requirements related to BBF projects and is not a constraint for third parties
  • The BBF’s role is to select labs based on regional requirements, available funding
  • Broadband Forum does not fund each Open Broadband Lab – but helps facilitate funding (Hosting Labs are independent of the BBF and independently funded)
  • OB-Labs provide services according to fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory terms
  • Must make services available to the entire industry (without limitation), platforms may vary

To find out more about Broadband Forum work in all areas of broadband innovation, and to join Broadband Forum to make use of the Open Broadband Labs reach out to info@broadband-forum.org. To see a current summary of use cases that can be tested at the labs, visit CloudCO Application Notes and explore these blueprints for test to be performed in the labs.

Yves Hertoghs (vmWare), BBF Project Stream Leader for CloudCO initiative, talks about the opening of the Open Broadband Lab Europe as well as latest BBF activities in pushing NFV into the market

Open Broadband Lab Framework

The diagram illustrates the basic foundation for the programmable, dynamic broadband network of the future utilizing open source techniques and defined APIs in support of the development and testing of broadband services and interoperability. It will facilitate partnership with the other communities, and enable BBF to upstream suggestions or patches to partner projects, broadening the development and review process for all parties.

The first Open Broadband Labs was announced in May 2017. For more information, click here.