Broadband Forum Updates Framework for Edge Computing

Broadband Forum
(Image credit: Broadband Forum)

FREMONT, Calif.—The Broadband Forum industry standards group has announced a new release of TR-466 that is designed to help operators bring edge computing to cloud-based broadband networks and will enable service providers to improve their customers’ quality of experience (QoE) while increasing their revenue streams.

Broadband Forum’s TR-466 ‘Metro Compute Networking: Use Cases and High Level Requirements’ is a framework defining a new metro-compute networking architecture in ways that ensure a greater user experience by moving applications or content towards the lower edge tiers in the network hierarchy, the industry group said. 

The metro-compute networking architecture will include in-depth integration of computing and network on top of the cloud-based broadband network with the purpose of connecting isolated edge sites—such as Broadband Forum’s CloudCO—as one cloud to serve edge computing services, the Forum said. 

“The latest release of TR-466 represents a big step for the industry as the standard will help cloud providers and operators overcome the routing and scalability challenges at the edge,” said Broadband Forum SDN/NFV Work Area co-director George Dobrowski. “Furthermore, it enables virtualization and disaggregation of edge elements and nodes to run applications in proximity to the customer where latency is important. This is particularly important for enterprise networks and will provide a shareable infrastructure for customers that can be seamlessly managed with reduced complexity,” 

“Our work enables faster and more efficient provisioning of low-latency and high-bandwidth edge computing services,” he continued. “TR-466 perfectly complements the Forum’s in-progress work on WT-474 subscriber session steering, which can deliver flexible on-demand bandwidth that detects traffic changes and automatically scales to preserve the user experience. This is achieved by utilizing compute-aware routing and dynamic session steering, as demonstrated at Broadband World Forum. These specifications enable operators to unlock new revenue-generating services.”

In describing the importance of the release, the Broadband Forum noted that edge computing represents a unique opportunity for operators as they already own a large number of edge sites. It will enable them to transform into an ICT service provider and adapt their business offering from bandwidth to network connection, computing and storage to deliver service information and content, not just bandwidth. For Over-The-Top (OTT) streaming, gaming, or Virtual Reality services, providers will be able to save asset investment and Operation and Maintenance (O&M) costs through edge sharing.

The Forum also noted that Metro-Compute Networking benefits have been recognized by some of the largest and innovative operators in the world with lab and additional field trials including significant activity within China, including China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom. In addition, IRTF is preparing a new research group, RISE, following a similar direction in Q4 2021 after the release of TR-466. These proponents consider TR-466 as a key step in helping them move towards the required ICT transformation, the group said. 

“Until now, no industry standards organization has considered the possible impact on multi-service broadband networks under the trend of edge computing or addressing the unique challenges that this has presented,” said Broadband Forum SDN/NFV Work Area co-director Bruno Cornaglia. “This latest Broadband Forum work will see us play a critical role in edge computing and utilize the virtualized network infrastructure to enable carriers to increase revenue via edge cloud services.”

The group’s free technical reports and white papers can be found at (opens in new tab)

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.