Broadband Forum has published Release 4.0 of its Open Broadband – Broadband Access Abstraction (OB-BAA) open-source project, that will provide operators worldwide with greater networking flexibility for how they plan and build their networks and enable the delivery of faster services to their customers.
Building on previous releases, Release 4.0 offers enhanced functionalities to disaggregate the management of the Optical Network Unit (ONU) into the cloud using virtualised OMCI message capabilities. Thereby de-coupling ONU management from the software upgrades and release cycles of the OLT, where traditionally it has been embedded. This reduces operators’ costs for on-boarding and upgrading new features in an ONU as well as eases the deployment of new ONU brands and models. The additional flexibility addresses the big engineering and operations problem of having embedded functions in both ONUs and OLTs.
“As network automation continues to emerge at an accelerated pace, operators will need to think about how they make upgrades compatible with their currently deployed architecture to avoid the costly and disruptive practice of starting from scratch,” said Tim Carey, OB-BAA Project Lead at Broadband Forum. “That’s where OB-BAA Release 4.0 will help, by creating a network which delivers on the promise of next-generation broadband, while reducing service providers’ costs and protecting their investments.”
Release 4.0 also brings another notable benefit as it disaggregates the control plane functions and moves them into the cloud, therefore unlocking the control plane from the data plane of the OLT. This enables the ability for SDN Management and Control elements to dynamically steer traffic which is needed to deploy new services in an accelerated timeframe and dynamically optimise them. The relay of user and control plane packets can be done via standard and/or vendor proprietary control adapters.
“Release 4.0 offers enhanced management of ONUs using virtualised OMCI and reduced repeated work for operators, as well as the key to unlock greater interoperability and programmability in broadband networks,” said Dechao Zhang, Principal Researcher, China Mobile. “Our collaborative efforts mark a major milestone for the broadband industry as we continue to address the problems operators globally face with evolving and updating their current multi-vendor OLT and ONU fibre broadband architectures to be software-defined and cloud-driven.”
Using features that existed in previous releases along with its virtualised ONU management and control relay capabilities, a key accomplishment of the latest release of OB-BAA is the full support of OLT capabilities for white box solutions in the OB-BAA framework. This builds upon the ability of these devices to natively support standard interfaces. In turn this allows OB-BAA to seamlessly connect to any standard compliant Access Node design via the portfolio of standard device adapters available in the public distribution which are key to an operator’s coexistence and migration strategy for their access networks.
“Broadband Forum has a goal of developing industry-wide standardised solutions, and Open Source and Open Standards are the new pillars to support our community and this is a fundamental paradigm shift in the way Broadband Forum is delivering value to its stakeholders.” said Mauro Tilocca (TIM), OB-BAA Story Team Lead at Broadband Forum.
“Virtualised OMCI complements existing functions such as performance and configuration management, operators can now easily introduce white box solutions, and this subsequently offers a path from those that are vendor-aligned to a mixed vendor and white box evolution.”
Broadband Forum members directly involved in developing Release 4.0 included Nokia, China Mobile, TIM, BT, Altice Labs, Altran, DZS and Broadcom.
Release 4.0 of OB-BAA can be downloaded directly from Broadband Forum’s website and can be found here.