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Broadband Forum forges enhancements to 5G convergence standards

Latest 5G work by developer of broadband standards sees major enhancements building on 3GPP’s Release 18 to advance next-generation applications, network resilience and support of converged services

Claiming to bring about greater value and better quality of experience to end-user customers in IT systems with more efficient operations and lower total ownership cost, broadband standards development organisation Broadband Forum has upgraded its solutions to advance next-generation applications through work to integrate wireless and wireline networks.

Broadband Forum’s Phase 18.1 specifications build on the 3GPP Release 18 standards and are intended to advance next-generation applications, network resilience and support of converged services. They promise to extend the set of common value-adding capabilities, enabling customised quality of service and more freedom to smoothly migrate to a single converged 5G core with a multi-vendor broadband network.

The Broadband Forum’s Wireless-Wireline Convergence (WWC) Work Area is developing five new specifications under its Phase 18.1 umbrella of 5G work. Key use cases include business services support, hybrid access, network data analytics and support for devices behind a 5G Residential Gateway (5G-RG).

The forum assures that different subscriber groups, such as home workers or gamers, can also be prioritised, with greater bandwidth on-demand, thanks to network slicing, part of the key enhancements from this latest phase of work.

Documents include WT-456 Issue 3 (Access Gateway Function Functional Requirements), WT-458 Issue 2 (CUPS for 5G Wireless Wireline Convergence), and WT-470 Issue 3 (5G Wireless-Wireline Convergence Architecture), as well as related extensions of CPE device requirements and device data models.

The previous phase of work included control-user plane separation (CUPS) for multi-vendor support (TR-458) and specified the combined AGF-5G-user plane (Broadband-UPF), designed to allow flexible and cost-effective use of the broadband user plane with the 5G Control Plane. Broadband Forum’s Technical Reports TR-493 and TR-494 have also been published, converging residential voice support onto current 5G networks.

“By defining these functional improvements and capabilities for multi-vendor 5G broadband networks, BBF’s work addresses the needs of both fixed and mobile operators,” said Manuel Paul, Deutsche Telekom and Broadband Forum WWC work area co-director.

“They can combine offerings and provide a uniform experience to subscribers irrespective of the access in use, supported by a common control plane and streamlined back office. As standards mature, the industry has the foundations available for mass deployments in the residential and enterprise markets,” added Paul.

Christele Bouchat, Nokia and Broadband Forum WWC work area co-director, added: “Our Phase 18.1 work is driven by industry demand and the priorities of operators, as we focus on providing them with increased flexibility, revenue potential and deployment options. By working in close alignment with 3GPP, we are ensuring synergy for the broadband industry. By leveraging convergence, operators can cost-effectively deliver broadband in the home and office.”

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