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:


Vodafone, Nokia, Cisco, etc. in multi-vendor test of Broadband Network Gateway

Vodafone, together with Benu Networks, Casa Systems, Cisco and Nokia, have successfully tested a system based on a Broadband Forum specification which will make it quicker and easier to deliver faster fixed broadband services to new and existing customers across Europe.

In a world first, the companies applied a new open architecture to the Broadband Network Gateway (BNG) – a critical component for connecting multiple users to the Internet – to enable it to work using separate software and hardware from multiple vendors. This is an important step in opening up the current single-supplier, monolithic broadband gateways to greater technological innovation from a more diverse supply chain.

Called Disaggregated BNG, the technology will change the way broadband networks are built. Using the global TR-459 standard devised by the Broadband Forum, the test allowed the core control functions of the gateway, such as authenticating a user and increasing bandwidth to support streaming services, to be separated and managed efficiently in the cloud  whilst ensuring multi-vendor interoperability.  Vodafone can then separately upgrade, scale and deploy new features and add more capacity, enabling greater agility and faster time to market when making enhancements across its pan-European broadband network.

Johan Wibergh, Chief Technology Officer for Vodafone, said: “We are already driving a more diverse and open mobile ecosystem with Open RAN, and now we are targeting fixed broadband. As an industry, and with government support, we owe it to people with no or slow internet access to quicken the rollout of new capabilities on fast, fixed broadband.”

Disaggregated BNG will also lower development costs for existing and new ecosystem partners and allow deeper integration with 5G.

Broadband Forum specification – multi-vendor interoperability

The test used Control and User Plane Separation technologies defined by both the Broadband Forum and the global mobile standard 3GPP, which means there will be more opportunity for converged fixed and mobile service delivery. It was conducted between test labs in Belgium (Nokia), Ireland (Casa Systems), India (Cisco) and the United States (Benu Networks).

The Broadband Forum TR-459 specification describes how a traditionally monolithic function is split into two main components – the Control Plane and the User or the Data plane. The Control Plane is the brain of the system and is responsible for managing the interactions with the customer home router, authenticating the user and determining the services and policies that should be applied.  The User or Data Plane is then responsible for forwarding the users’ traffic to the correct services and enforcing any required policies such as Quality of Service (QoS).

Standardization of Control and User Plane Separation (CUPS) enables the Control Plane from one vendor to control the User Plane from a different vendor.

Partner quotes:

“We applaud Vodafone for taking a strong industry leadership role by driving standards-based interoperability between vendors,” said Ajay Manuja, CTO and VP of Engineering at Benu Networks.  “Benu has specifically designed our cloud-native, disaggregated SD-Edge platform to be an open system for BNG and 5G convergence, supporting over 25 million broadband-connected homes and businesses.”

“Our goal is to simplify network transformation and make it easy for service providers to be more agile and innovative,” said Jerry Guo, CEO of Casa Systems. “Working with Vodafone, we were able to prove the interoperability and scalability of our standards-based disaggregated BNG solution that allows operators to break away from legacy infrastructures and deploy new services to their customers faster.”

“Cisco is committed to driving solutions to expand broadband penetration worldwide.” said Andy Schutz, Product Management Senior Director for Cisco.  “We believe the work being done in the Broadband Forum is fundamental to these efforts, especially in the area of creating greater flexibility and choice of control and user planes from different vendors leveraging the TR-459 standard.”

“As a leading BNG vendor, Nokia is pleased to demonstrate support for a wide range of BNG deployment models including Broadband Forum’s disaggregated BNG architecture,” said Vach Kompella, VP and GM of Nokia’s IP Networks Business Division. “Nokia envisions a significant evolution in BNG architecture with the introduction of CUPS in fixed, wireless and 5G fixed wireless applications which will allow rapid feature introduction, optimal user plane placement and selection, as well as improved operations.”


Ken Ko, managing director of Broadband Forum, told Fierce Telecom the BNG has traditionally been a “monolithic piece of equipment,” meaning operators might have to purchase a second BNG if they want to scale up or add capacity. This in turn could leave them with control plane capacity they don’t need but paid for anyway.

But with a disaggregated BNG, operators can deploy the control and user planes in a new way, centralizing the former and distributing the latter to reap myriad benefits, he said. For instance, the user plane can be deployed closer to the customer, delivering improved performance for users and giving the operator the option to scale in more flexible increments.

Additionally, by centralizing the control plane, operators not only gain scale benefits, but can also eliminate the need to set up a control plane for each individual BNG that’s rolled out. Ko pointed to improved resilience and streamlined orchestration as two other benefits of the disaggregated BNG.

For its part, Vodafone argued disaggregated BNGs would also enable “greater technological innovation from a more diverse supply chain” by lowering development costs for new and existing ecosystem players. It also highlighted the potential for deeper integration with 5G since the same control and user plane separation technology is also defined by 3GPP specifications.

Ko said the test “is a really important milestone,” adding “just the fact that we’ve got all of these players working together on this test shows that we’re getting to real deployable solutions.”

Vodafone Group

Media Relations
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Investor Relations
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PointTopic: Fiber & cable make up 3/4 of global fixed broadband subscriptions

Fiber and cable networks are dominating the global broadband market, with the technologies now servicing 77% of fixed subscriptions, new figures from Point Topic have revealed.

According to the Global Broadband Statistics, which take into account subscriptions up to the end of 2017, more than 50% of people in more than 40 countries, including Singapore (97%), China (89%), United States (87%), and the UK (55%), are connected via full-fiber, fiber-fed copper or cable.

Point Topic Research Director Dr Jolanta Stanke  told the Broadband Forum:

“We are finding that customers across most global regions increasingly prefer faster broadband services delivered over fiber and cable platforms, as opposed to ADSL. This trend will continue as more bandwidth-hungry young consumers become paying decision makers, even though superfast 4G LTE and 5G mobile broadband services will compete for their wallets.”

Fiber-fed subscriptions – including Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH), Fiber-to-the-Building (FTTB), Fiber-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC), Very High Bitrate Digital Subscriber Line (VDSL), VDSL2 and – accounted for 57% of broadband subscriptions, with more than 530 million connections. Stanke agreed VDSL and Gfast were together largely responsible for the growth that fiber has seen, with more than 30 operators across all continents deploying or trialing

“ gives operators a more cost-effective variant of fiber that will be used by operators who want to upgrade their existing networks quicker and more easily,” she added. “This could enable them to serve more customers in less densely populated areas, where direct fiber investment is less economically feasible.”

In total, cable, including hybrid fiber-coaxial, accounted for 20% of all fixed broadband connections. According to the report, the latest standard of this technology is currently deployed across several markets, being especially popular in North America, and can deliver gigabit download speeds.

Broadband Forum CEO Robin Mersh said the figures reflect the fact that new technologies that let operators deploy fiber deep into the network without having to enter buildings themselves are quickly moving from trials to mass deployment.

“If operators want to deliver competitive broadband services, maximizing their investments through the use of technologies like is vital,” said Mersh. “Expanding the footprint of their existing fiber networks in this way is cost-effective and delivers the gigabit speeds consumers crave. The growing trend towards fiber, whether its fiber-fed copper or full fiber, and cable deployments highlighted by Point Topic’s report confirms that the Forum’s work on interoperability and management of ‘fiber-extending’ technologies is vitally important.”

The voracious demand for connectivity is evident in the increased demand for fiber, cable and coax despite the parallel growth of LTE and MAYBE (?) “5G.”

Though “5G” is in currently proprietary to each wireless network operator, huge investments in fiber, coax and copper are being made because strategic planners expect 5G to be mainstream in the next several years (we think NOT until late 2021 at the earliest when IMT 2020 recommendations are finalized and implemented in base stations and endpoint devices.

Last month, Broadbandtrends’ Global Service Provider Deployment Strategies surveyed 33 incumbent and competitive broadband operators from across the globe.  The market research firm found that four in five service providers have plans for this year and that 27% are in active deployments.   AT&T is a huge supporter of while Verizon is not.

About the Broadband Forum
Broadband Forum, a non-profit industry organization, is focused on engineering smarter and faster broadband networks. The Forum’s flagship TR-069 CPE WAN Management Protocol has now exceeded 800 million installations worldwide.