Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Broadband Forum targets PON Virtualization for 5G Fronthaul

The Broadband Forum and NTT are undertaking a project to standardize the virtualization of PON networks to support the delivery of Time Critical Applications (TCAs), such as 5G fronthaul.

The project, which was initiated by Forum member NTT, is called PON Abstraction Interface for TCAs. It looks at how SDN and NFV can be applied to Optical Line Terminals to disaggregate PON functions to functional modules with open interfaces. The first phase will define the disaggregation policy and functional requirements of interfaces to disaggregate PON functions which need time-critical processing, while the second phase will define the detailed specifications of the interfaces as Application Programming Interface (API) sets.

“As users’ usage changes, both in regard to the different services required and the amount of data coursing through fiber networks, operators need to update their PON networks, including by adding TCAs,” said Akihiro Otaka, Executive Manager at NTT Access Network Service Systems Laboratories. “This used to require the remake of PON equipment for each service, but should be done via a software upgrade in the near future to improve cost-effectiveness. With demand for this increasing, it is important we ensure there are standards in place to achieve a vendor-agnostic system and ensure mass deployment of this new system architecture, which is essential if we are to deliver agile and flexible next-generation broadband networks for emerging services.”

“As we work to meet the demand for new services, faster connectivity and more bandwidth, our focus is shifting from the fixed network to a holistic broadband network,” said Robin Mersh, CEO of Broadband Forum. “We know fiber will play a huge role in the delivery of 5G and this project looks to define that role and make it possible for operators to offer fronthaul services, among others, via their PON networks. This makes the work important not just for the broadband industry but the telecoms market as a whole and it can only be achieved on a wide scale through collaboration and standardization.”

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