Vodafone and partners trial new broadband standard

Vodafone and partners trial new broadband standard

29 September 2021 | Natalie Bannerman

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Vodafone has partnered Benu Networks, Casa Systems, Cisco and Nokia, to successfully test a new broadband standard.

The new system will make it quicker and easier to deliver faster fixed broadband services to new and existing customers across Europe.

“We are already driving a more diverse and open mobile ecosystem with Open RAN, and now we are targeting fixed broadband," said Johan Wibergh, chief technology officer at Vodafone.

"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.”

Touted as a world-first, the companies applied a new open architecture to the Broadband Network Gateway (BNG) - a component for connecting multiple users to the Internet- enabling it to work using separate software and hardware from multiple vendors.

Named disaggregated BNG, this new technology will change the way broadband networks are built, creating a more diverse supply chain.

“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.”

Using the global TR459 standard created 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 in the cloud while ensuring multi-vendor interoperability.

“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.”

The test used control and user plane separation technologies defined by both the Broadband Forum and the global mobile standard 3GPP. It was conducted between test labs in Belgium (Nokia), Ireland (Casa Systems), India (Cisco) and the United States (Benu Networks).

“Cisco is committed to driving solutions to expand broadband penetration worldwide.” said Andy Schutz, product management senior director at 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 result, Vodafone can then separately upgrade, scale and deploy new features and add more capacity, across its pan-European broadband network.

In addition, disaggregated BNG will also lower development costs for existing and new ecosystem partners and allow deeper integration with 5G.

“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.”