Broadband Forum adopts ‘holistic’ approach to broadband network development

Created April 3, 2018
BASE event in Athens at the end of March brought together more than 300 delegates from entire "broadband value chain".News and Business

BASE event in Athens at the end of March brought together more than 300 delegates from entire “broadband value chain”.

A new concept of broadband is on target to be achieved as the industry experiences an era of unparalleled change and challenge, and networks transform to meet the opportunities of 5G, “cloudification”, the Internet of Things, gigabit access, open source solutions and the growing influence of Artificial Intelligence.

That was the message delivered at the Broadband Forum’s sell-out BASE Athens event, last month, which brought together operators, service providers, system integrators, vendors, academia and industry bodies to discuss the entire broadband ecosystem and the technology developments needed to deliver future broadband networks.

“Like all the countries across Europe, my members are facing multiple challenges and opportunities as we look forward to 5G and IoT possibilities, allied to how they will interwork with new technologies such as Network Functions Virtualization and even AI,” said George Stefanopoulos, General Manager of Greek Mobile Operators Association (EEKT).

“Whatever the technologies, the choice is always going to be finding the right balance between investment capability, generating demand for services and supporting this with a friendly regulatory and licensing environment.”

Stefanopoulos was joined on the stage by a host of operators and vendors, with subjects covered including virtualized broadband, cloud services, the managed home, 5G, wireless/wireline convergence, Wi-Fi performance and high-speed access, including NG-PON2, XGS-PON, MoCA and Gfast.

Details of the latest Broadband Forum projects were also revealed. Tim Carey, of Nokia, gave an update on the Broadband Forum’s Broadband Access Abstraction (BAA) project which aims to drive the adoption of software-defined access networks via open source software development.

“As more operators look to agile, software-based network models, uniting vendors and operators to ensure they are aligned with industry specifications to meet the needs of operators globally is incredibly important for long-term success,” said Carey.

“By defining a software reference implementation for an open BAA layer through standardized interfaces, software can be decoupled from the underlying hardware to isolate the core functionality from specific device implementations and limit the number of different interfaces that are needed to be supported by service providers and vendors.”

BAA is part of the Broadband Forum’s Open Broadband initiative, a collaborative space for the integration and testing of new open source, standards-based and vendor provided implementations.

At the BASE event in Athens Vodafone’s Fixed Access Manager, Bruno Cornaglia, set out his vision for this technology.

“To create a unified access architecture, it is essential to integrate all technologies – from FTTC to FTTH and Cable – in a single approach,” said Cornaglia “In urban areas, NG-PON2 represents the suitable solution for backhauling all other technologies, such as GPON in remote nodes, micro-nodes with VDSL2 and Gfast, DOCSIS remote devices, and mobile, but in rural areas operators face additional difficulties when deploying next-generation access.

BASE workshop
During the BASE workshop, Cornaglia also highlighted why good network monitoring is important and how the new ΔQmetric can improve network performance and Quality of Service. According to Cornaglia, the ΔQ data can then be used by machine learning to enhance network operation.

“This latest BASE event brought together a vast array of speakers, covering an unparalleled range of topics, from NG-PON2 and Gfast to virtualization and converged networks for 5G,” said Bernd Hesse, Chairman of BASE and the Broadband Forum’s NG-PON2 Council, and Sen. Director Technology Development at Calix.

“This ongoing discussion and collaboration, looked holistically at the broadband access network and this is absolutely vital if we are to deliver the ubiquitous next-generation access for many consumers who are already seeing broadband as the fourth utility.”

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This article was written
by Matthew Peach

Matthew Peach is a freelance technology journalist specialising in photonics and communications. He has previously worked for several business-to-business publishers, editing a range of high-tech magazines and websites.