Broadband Forum Issues New Specification of TR-459 Standard

Fiber optic
(Image credit: Pixabay)

Broadband Forum has issued a new technical report that the industry group said will enable improved resiliency, scalability, and faster deployment times, which will give end-users a more reliable and more consistent service.

“The latest release of the TR-459 standard will continue to drive standards-based interoperability between vendors, with Broadband Forum simplifying network transformation and ensuring more agility and flexibility for broadband operators,” said Craig Thomas, vice president strategic marketing and business development at Broadband Forum. “Our work on a Multi-Service Disaggregated Broadband Network Gateway (DBNG) continues to make it easier to deliver fixed broadband services quickly to new and existing customers as the industry continues to transition and offers a migration path from legacy infrastructures to a future agile cloud native approach.”

More specifically, the second issue of Technical Report-459 will make it easier to address network issues and outages. The group explained that any faults that can cause network outages can be navigated around as the new specification enables the brain of the network (known as the Control Plane, responsible for managing interactions with the customer home router) to intelligently determine whether a switchover to a new User Plane is needed. The User Plane carries network traffic and enforces policies such as Quality of Service (QoS).

“TR-459 Issue 2 includes an additional layer of flexibility to manage subscriber resiliency, simplifying operations and streamlining provisioning and maintenance,” said Jonathan Newton, co-director of the Access and Transport Architecture Work Area at Broadband Forum from Vodafone.

“These characteristics are all the more critical in a post-COVID world in which more people are using their home broadband access services to manage their lives, including working and shopping online,” added Newton.

Standardization of the Control and User Plane Separation (CUPS) for a Multi-Service DBNG enables the Control Plane from one vendor to control and manage the User Plane from another vendor, the group said. This builds a more diverse supply chain with a greater choice of Control and User Planes from different vendors leveraging the TR-459 standard.

Broadband Forum members showcased the important capabilities enabled by TR-459 Issue 2 as part of the CloudCO Demonstration at Network X 2022. The demo highlighted Subscriber Group Resiliency and switchover, and DBNG-User Plane traffic steering. The network monitored the subscriber traffic SLAs and when the SLAs were not being met, switched the subscribers to the backup DBNG-User Plane. Subscriber Group Resiliency minimizes network outages during any network faults, the Broadband Forum said. 

Within the network, the BNG is the portal through which subscribers gain access to the internet, and traditionally, operators have had to purchase a second BNG to scale up, sometimes not using all the available Control Plane capacity. But disaggregation ensures operational simplicity by centralizing the Control Plane, negating the need for Control Planes to be set up for each BNG introduced, the group said. 

The global TR-459 standard was first trialed by Vodafone, Benu Networks, Casa Systems, Cisco, and Nokia, in September 2021 at test labs across Europe, the United States, and Asia-Pacific. In the trial, the companies were able to validate multi-vendor interoperability for a disaggregated BNG system with the core control functions of the gateway, such as authenticating a user and increasing bandwidth to support streaming services, separated and managed in the cloud.  

In addition to the benefits noted above, TR-459 Issue 2 also defines key functions, which synergize the disaggregation of Wireless-Wireline Convergence being defined within Broadband Forum. 

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.