Monday, October 14, 2019

Broadband Forum and ONF align work on Automated and Open Virtualized Access Networks

The Broadband Forum (BBF) and the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) announced an agreement that sets forth how operators seeking to effectively use virtualization and open source to increase agility can leverage open source and standardization projects side-by-side to ease their migrations to automated access networks and enable seamless co-existence.

Specifically, the agreement sees an alignment between the BBF's Open Broadband-Broadband Access Abstraction and ONF's SDN Enabled Broadband Access (SEBA) platform.

Open Broadband-Broadband Access Abstraction (OB-BAA) is a BBF open source project that enables SDN-based management and control of multi-vendor, multi-technology access networks via a standard abstraction northbound interface. It facilitates co-existence and seamless migration, bringing the agility to adapt to a wide variety of software defined access models. This abstraction simplifies and reduces development upstream in management and control software for Physical and Virtual Network Functions (PNFs and VNFs). Inherent in the OB-BAA project is the ability to pull differing access device types, including legacy implementations, together under a single standardized network and service management & control umbrella to be exposed to management elements such as the SDN Management and Control and Element Management Systems.

ONF’s SDN Enabled Broadband Access (SEBA) platform takes a disaggregated white-box approach to building next generation access networks leveraging open source. Functionality traditionally run on chassis-based Optical Line Terminals (OLTs) and on Broadband Network Gateway (BNG) routers is run in the cloud, and the hardware is minimized to a collection of simple white-box OLTs, switches and servers. SEBA wraps together this collection of open source hardware and software into a comprehensive platform that exposes northbound FCAPS interfaces, making it straight forward to integrate a SEBA POD with an operator’s OSS/BSS system.

ONF’s Virtual OLT Hardware Abstraction (VOLTHA) open source software project abstracts a PON network to make it manageable as if it were a standard OpenFlow switch. Functionality like DHCP and user authentication is run as open source in the cloud, giving operators control over functions that have traditionally been embedded in vendor tightly integrated chassis solutions. VOLTHA is used as a component of the SEBA platform and can also be used standalone by operators wanting to leverage just the specific capabilities of access network abstraction and SDN control.

Broadband Forum and ONF said they believe that many types of carrier deployments would benefit from the capabilities offered by OB-BAA and SEBA/VOLTHA. The cooperation between the two organizations takes their work to the next level, providing an effective and efficient path for operators to leverage the innovations and benefits of both initiatives while ensuring interoperability, high performance, scalability and maximum reliability. A whitepaper providing more detail on the relationship between OB-BAA and SEBA/VOLTHA open source projects can be found here.

AT&T sees progress with ONF's SEBA, Trellis and other projects

Projects like Trellis, SEBA, OMEC, Stratum, and P4 are redefining what a modern network looks like, said Andre Fuetsch, President, AT&T Labs and Chief Technology Officer, speaking at the Open Networking Foundation’s Connect 2019 conference in Silicon Valley/

AT&T is currently using SEBA (Software-Enabled Broadband Access) to deliver gigabit-plus, low-latency home internet access via white box hardware to 500 homes in the U.S. The carrier plans to scale up in 2020 and beyond.

SEBA (SDN Enabled Broadband Access) is a lightweight virtualized broadband platform originally based on a variant of ONF’s R-CORD. It supports multiple virtualized access technologies at the edge of the carrier network (e.g. PON, G.Fast, DOCSIS), allowing each access technology to be controlled by OpenFlow. Furthermore, mediation software is provided to help operationalize the access devices and connect the SEBA implementation to OSS/BSS systems. SEBA supports both residential access and wireless backhaul and is optimized such that traffic can run ‘fastpath’ straight through to the backbone without requiring VNF processing.

Fuetsch also talked about progress with Trellis, which is seeing very deployment as well.

Trellis defines a solution for an open multi-purpose L2/L3 spine-leaf Ethernet switch fabric for edge data centers and for interconnecting multiple sites. It supports Virtualized Network Functions (VNFs) running on servers, network functions implemented directly within the switch fabric itself, and the interconnection of local and remote resources all in a single solution. Trellis builds a non-blocking fabric using OpenFlow controlled white box switching hardware and open source software. The Trellis fabric does not run any embedded control protocols on the switches (e.g. BGP, OSPF or RSTP). Instead, intelligence is moved into applications running on a clustered ONOS controller.

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