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Latest Broadband Forum spec offers faster route to gigabit speeds

The Broadband Forum’s new specifications for FTTdp management use software-based techniques to offer an easier and quicker route to gigabit broadband for comms providers

Broadband industry association the Broadband Forum has released a new set of specifications on fibre to the distribution point (FTTdp) management that use software-based techniques in a bid to simplify the deployment of ultrafast broadband services.

The forum said its software-deliverable TR-355 Yang modules for FTTdp management will let operators configure and deploy fibre-fed nodes on the periphery of their access networks. That will in turn allow the interoperability of FTTdp management.

This, it said, will open the door to easier deployment of agile, ultrafast broadband services, and stimulate emerging technologies such as G.fast, which delivers speeds comparable with fibre to the premise (FTTP) over copper infrastructure.

TR-355 breaks new ground for the forum in that it is the first specification to publish Yang modules and deliver software specifically designed and licensed for wide-scale and rapid adoption by the networking industry,” said forum chair and BT general manager of architecture, innovation and engineering, Kevin Foster.

He added: “This pioneering software-driven deliverable will enable operators to manage standardised FTTdp network elements from multiple vendors, giving more choice and flexibility as ultrafast networks are built out.

“It will also reduce the integration complexity of adding new network elements as networks scale and evolve to meet demanding customer requirements for advanced, assured and ultrafast broadband services.”

IP first

As well as being the first software deliverable written in the Yang modelling language, the management module is the first to follow the Broadband’s Forum new policy on intellectual property (IP).

It recently updated its IP policy to streamline licensing, and respond to pressure from industry partners to have software code included alongside traditional standards specifications.

The module consists of seven Yang data model software specifications, which are now available on GitHub.

They include an interface object supporting xDSL and G.fast, and the ITU‑T standardised objects for startup of G.fast or VDSL, G.fast and VDSL2 configuration, status monitoring, performance management, testing and diagnostics, and single-ended line test (Selt) and metallic line test (Melt) configuration and test results.

Frank van der Puttern, rapporteur of the ITU-T Q4/SG15 experts group on broadband access on metallic conductors, noted: “The Broadband Forum’s move to the state-of-the-art Yang modeling addresses operators’ needs for interoperability of management protocols and for programmability of networks, an onset to SDN/NFV evolutions.

“These deliverables show that collaboration between standards organisations can lead to results which benefit all players in the industry.”

Yang expertise

The forum is rapidly becoming a centre of expertise for Yang specifications in broadband networks thanks to its activity around G.fast.

The next step for the group will be to drive re-use of the modules being developed around full FTTP, working alongside the Internet Engineering Taskforce.

“The publication of TR-355 is groundbreaking in a number of ways,” said Robin Mersh, CEO of the Broadband Forum. “First and foremost are the clear advantages it brings to operators looking to launch new competitive ultrafast services such as G.fast, while vendors will also benefit from the set of defined specifications.

“Furthermore, our new licensing, detailed in our updated IP policy, sends a clear message about our continuing evolution to meet the needs of the changing networking industry.”

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