November 9, 2020

New Broadband Forum Aims to Make Networks More Open to White Box Solutions

Release 4.0 of the Broadband Forum’s Open Broadband – Broadband Access Abstraction (OB-BAA) aims to enhance network flexibility. The Broadband Forum OB-BAA 4.0 standard moves key control points into the cloud in an effort to both accelerate and reduce the cost of network evolution, the organization announced.

Broadband Forum OB-BAA 4.0

Broadband Forum, an open standards development organization, says that the standard moves Optical Network Unit (ONU) management into the cloud using virtualized ONT Management Control Interface (OMCI) message capabilities. One outcome is giving network operators the flexibility to implement so called “white box” network solutions, not tying network upgrades to any single vendor.

Tim Carey, the OB-BAA Project Lead at Broadband Forum, commented in a press release that the new release will help operators plan upgrades to networks that are compatible with their currently deployed architecture. This will avoid the need to start from scratch, which adds cost and protects the investments already made.

The key is moving finding the most efficient and least expensive way to move from legacy to emerging network architectures. “Broadband Forum has a goal of developing industry-wide standardized 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,” Mauro Tilocca (TIM), OB-BAA Story Team Lead at Broadband Forum, said in the press release. “Virtualized 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.”

The new release also disaggregates control plane functions and relocates them in the cloud. This creates separation of the control plane and the data plane of the OLT. This accelerates the ability of the SDN Management and Control elements to dynamically steer traffic for new services as well as dynamically optimize them.