Broadband Forum Access Node Spec Supports Incremental Virtualization

A new access node specification from the Broadband Forum uses a disaggregated approach that is designed to enable operators to incrementally virtualize their networks, thereby driving opex and capex savings.

The spec is designed to disaggregate optical line terminals (OLTs) and multi-service access nodes (MSANs). The spec consists of “Cloud CO Enhancement – Access Node Functional Disaggregation” (TR-477) and “Access Node Hardware Disaggregation” (MR-477).

Broadband Forum Access Node Spec

The access nodes are software defined network-enabled, noted Vodafone’s Bruno Cornaglia, Broadband Forum’s SDN/NFV Work Area director, in a prepared statement.

That approach, he said, “introduces new flexibility in the deployment of the management and control planes by supporting legacy investment and extending the principles of disaggregation, as well as using whitebox hardware and software solutions for future access node architecture.”

Cornaglia expects the standard to “help network operators protect their investments, diversify the supply chain, and accelerate the transition to new physical layer access technologies.”

Another important aspect of the spec is that it provides a single point for service provisioning with the goal of reducing time to market and increasing reach.

Disaggregated access nodes will simplify operations by automating workflows, configuration and maintenance through standardized interfaces and a “single, common and software-defined central office,” according to the Broadband Forum.

China Mobile’s Mengmeng Li, Broadband Forum’s SDN/NFV Work Area director, said that the disaggregated approach provides vendors with one-time development costs for interfaces and protocols due to the interoperability between the control plane and user plane elements.

The new spec is complementary to the multi-vendor, multi-technology CloudCO architecture, a reference architecture that enables operators to modernize central office infrastructure and move toward disaggregated network functionality.


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