Broadband Forum Rethinks ONU Authentication with TR-489 Project

The Broadband Forum’s TR-489 project aims to update the way in which optical network units (ONUs) are authenticated in virtualized environments. This will lead to opex savings and bring products and services to market more quickly, the open standards group says.

ONUs, typically installed at the customer premises, convert optical signals to electrical signals. ONU authentication is the process through which the ONU is identified. Traditionally this function was handled by the optical line terminal in the service provider’s network. But as networks increasingly become disaggregated, this vital function also can be carried out on the network management plane.

A key capability that will be defined in the new standard is how to determine where authentication is handled. According to Ken Ko, Managing Director at Broadband Forum, that can prevent inconsistent or faulty behavior associated with making the wrong choice.

Broadband Forum TR-489

ONU authentication also determines if the ONU is managed by the ONU Management Control Interface (OMCI) function embedded in the OLT (eOMCI) or virtualized in the Management Plane (vOMCI). Here, too, making the right choice can prevent unpredictable results, a press release notes.

The TR-489 standard, to be known as “‘Authentication of an ONU and selection of eOMCI or vOMCI,” provides a framework that will aid systems integrators, network operators and equipment vendors, the Broadband Forum says.

“ONU authentication is a key component to enable the benefits of virtualizing functions from the physical architecture,” Robert Peschi, Nokia Senior Product Architect and editor of Broadband Forum’s TR-489 standard, said in a press release. “The project ensures seamless interoperable and multi-vendor networks, regardless of whether parts of the network are virtualized or not.


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