Broadband Forum SDN/NFV Work Area launches four new projects at Bangkok Q4-2023 meeting


The Broadband Forum says their open standards and open broadband projects continue to deliver vital importance to companies, both small and large, as we focus on the latest industry trends, and extract most value to consumers, and transition to services-led broadband.

Progress on cloud based SDN/NFV was one of many accomplishments at this December’s meeting in Bangkok, Thailand.  SDN and NFV are both software components, but they are different. SDN virtualizes the management of networks, while NFV converts network processes into software applications. SDN separates the data and control planes, allowing operators to manage features from a centralized location. NFV virtualizes network infrastructure, separating functions that typically run in hardware and implementing them as software.  We believe the Forum’s SDN/NFV activity is very important as neither SDN or NFV have lived up to their potential and promise, primarily because they were premises based, rather than implemented in the cloud.

From a business perspective, the migration to SDN and NFV in the broadband network facilitates agile deployment of new customized distributed broadband services and applications. This enables new revenues and provider differentiation while managing Capex and OpEx both in the access network and in single and multi-tenant residential and business locations by implementing an agile network and enabling autonomous and automated operations.

Project Scope: Includes migration to and deployment of SDN/NFV-enabled implementations across all aspects of the broadband network. The scopes are:

  • the definition of a new cloud-based environment with its related requirements, called Cloud-based Central Office (CloudCO)
  • the architectural requirements, the interface specification among all the components with their related data models including the control-user plane separation interface for disaggregated access nodes
  • the specification of virtual network functions and interface with their related data models
  • the definition of requirements, interfaces and data models for autonomous and automated networks

Target: Define the Cloud-based Central Office (CloudCO) architecture using SDN, NFV, and cloud technologies to support network functions fundamentally redefining the architecture of access and aggregation networks. Support the migration of SDN and NFV into all aspects of broadband networks, facilitating the agile deployment of new distributed broadband services and applications for operators with greater operational efficiency and lower cost.

Progress: The SDN/NFV Work Area continues to progress the CloudCO project for virtualized network functions, SDN management and control and domain orchestration capabilities in a broadband network. The main activities currently ongoing are related to the disaggregation of the Access Node and defining the related interfaces. The Cloud Component Project Stream is continuing work on Automated Intelligence Management (AIM), Smart SD-WAN and virtual OMCI.

Three key documents near completion. TR-486 is set to be published in December 2023, WT-477 moves to Final Ballot, and WT-386 Issue 2 is currently resolving Straw Ballot comments.


A productive quarterly meeting for the SDN/NFV Work Area saw four new projects approved. This was WT-403 Amendment 1 ‘PON Abstraction Interface for Time-Critical Applications’, WT-384 Issue 2 ‘CloudCO 2.0’, WT-436 Issue 2 ‘AIM Framework and Architecture’, and a project on Broadband Network Data Collection (BNDC).

A new Open Broadband proposal on CloudCO App SDK was presented to the Broadband Forum Board of Directors.

WT-477 on access node disaggregation has finished Straw Ballot review for both the baseline document and data model. The project has been approved to move to Final Ballot.

WT-413 Issue 2 on ‘SDN Management and Control Interfaces for CloudCO Network Functions’ is progressing. Previously, the SDN/NFV and Common YANG Work Areas reviewed the approach and agreed to report a detailed list of data models, so that vendors can rapidly discover the data models to be implemented for each access network function. The group will discuss the scope regarding the addition of ONU (Optical Network Unit) management and BAA chapter update before the Spring 2024 Meeting. The document is expected to enter Straw Ballot review once WT-477 and WT-486 are completed.

On the Artificial Intelligence and automation fronts, WT-486, which specifies the interfaces for the Automated Intelligence Management (AIM) framework specified in TR-436, has completed Final Ballot and will be published in December 2023. An AIM Tiger Team has completed gap analysis in WT-436 Issue 2 and WT-486 Issue 2. The Tiger Team discussed the Broadband Network Data Collection new project proposal and received approval from the group.

Straw Ballot comment resolution has been completed and WT-386i2 on Fixed Access Network Sharing.

A Tiger Team has been established to review the document on CloudCO interfaces (WT-411i2/WT-454i2) to include the Access SDN Management and Control northbound interface intent-based interactions addressing access network topology and abstraction, including inventory. An update was presented on the discussions held on the data models. The Metamodel needs further review and will be discussed in future weekly meetings.

Together with the Common YANG, the group held a joint session to discuss a new project for BAA – Access Device Abstraction Manager (BAA-ADAM). The groups will continue the discussions offline to clarify the scope and impact on CloudCO interfaces.

The group took part in this year’s CloudCO Demo at Network X in October. Key projects were involved in the demo, including WT-477 reference Disaggregated – Optical Line Terminal (D-OLT) Virtual Network Function, Northbound interface exposure of a L2-L3 network abstraction, Optical Network Terminal (ONT) telemetry over virtualized ONU Management and Control Interface (vOMCI), automation test-suite for OB-BAA, IPFIX adapter framework, and vOMCI Plugfest delta features.


Shaping the future of Broadband – Broadband Forum (

Broadband Forum Q4 2023 Meeting Roundup

More information about the SDN/NFV Work Area can be found at:


One thought on “Broadband Forum SDN/NFV Work Area launches four new projects at Bangkok Q4-2023 meeting

  1. Thanks, Alan for this great summary of the SDN/NFV work area. The Broadband Forum has eight work areas in total and there is an amazing amount of activity from the membership in each of those work areas. All the activity is a bit overwhelming for someone who joined the BBF on the first day of the Q4 meeting (about two weeks ago now).

    With that said, I had some experience with the BBF before I joined the group. For instance, I had the opportunity to help document the CloudCo demonstration mentioned in your article. It was both fun and educational to see the different vendors working together to demonstrate the various BBF standards that allow an operator to create an interoperable software-defined network.

    The video at this link describes the various demonstrations (e.g. clientless secure work from home, parental controls, and virtualized OMCI (ONU Management Control Interface)), as well as the motivations of some of the vendor participants.

    I am looking forward to what the CloudCO 2024 demo will bring. But first, there is planning for the Q1 meeting in Mainz, Germany which will also include the Broadband Forum’s BASe Technical Summit 2024 (formerly known as UFBB) and 2024 USP Summit. Some of us are affectionally nicknaming this three-in-one event as BBF week.

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