Broadband Forum releases virtualization specs residential broadband gateways

The Broadband Forum has wrapped up work on a project called Network Enhanced Residential Gateway (TR-317) to implement virtual functions on residential broadband home gateways.

Leveraging SDN and NFV techniques, the TR-317 specification will enable service providers to attach new services directly to an end-user’s residential gateway centrally from their Cloud infrastructures. The Forum said the end result of this will be an enhanced customer experience and cost savings. 

The other elements of the initiative is focused on driving scale and improving QoS.

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Service providers will be able to more rapidly deploy services and personalize end-user packages with the aim of creating significant additional revenue streams. They will also be able to enforce QoS on a per-device, per user and/or per service basis, improving the broadband customer experience, which is advent of new and more demanding services.

“TR-317 provides CPE manufacturers with a first set of specifications to ensure interoperability between the bridged residential gateway at the customer premises and the virtual gateway hosted in the Service Provider’s cloud infrastructure,” said David Minodier, network architect at Orange, the Broadband Forum member which led the development of TR-317.

Given the diversity of home network environments, TR-317 can address the heterogeneous nature of the residential gateways. This has made it challenging for a telco to evolve existing gateway models, meaning the deployment of new features or services is often delayed, expensive and sometimes not even possible as some old CPE may not have sufficient resources to support a given set of features.

Similar to the enterprise market, the Broadband Forum is helping service providers migrate broadband services into the cloud. Among some of the services that could be enabled by the TR-317 specification is virtual storage, which can be provisioned on a ‘pay-as-you-grow’ basis in the network. Additionally, the machine-to-machine (M2M) Home Automation Box will move to the network, providing enhanced and easily-upgradeable M2M services.

The specification will also enable parental control per device to limit services accessed by children as well as improved diagnosis/troubleshooting/maintenance services due to operators being able to virtually insert a diagnosis tool in the extended home network to troubleshoot problems and support the customer. 

After releasing release the initial document, the forum will conduct further work to extend its capabilities, as well as new work around the CloudCentral Office project. This will include evolving the TR-069 protocol to manage the Network Enhanced Residential Gateway components (the Bridged Residential Gateway and the virtual Gateway) and associated services.

This is the latest in a series of efforts that the Broadband Forum has taken to enable virtualization in the broadband network.

In July, the Broadband Forum and ON.Lab entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on CORD (Central Office Re-architected as Data Center), advancing virtualization into the last mile network via SDN and NFV. CORD integrates NFV and SDN to bring data center economics and cloud flexibility to both the telco central office and the entire access network. 

For more:
- see the release

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