Home Global-ICTGlobal-ICT 2012 Simplifying remote management of billions of devices

Simplifying remote management of billions of devices

by david.nunes
Robin MershIssue:Global 2012
Article no.:7
Topic:Simplifying remote management of billions of devices
Author:Robin Mersh
Organisation:Broadband Forum
PDF size:255KB

About author

Robin Mersh joined the Broadband Forum as COO in July 2006 and was promoted to CEO in July 2010. Mr. Mersh has worked in the telecommunications industry for over 18 years, starting at Cable & Wireless and then moving on to BT before moving to the U.S. in 1999.

Robin Mersh received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London in 1992.

Article abstract

As the rollouts of the ‘Connected Home’ and ‘Business Broadband’ gather speed, we are building up to a world with billions of devices connecting us to new services and applications. We are also seeing a growing phenomenon of machines beginning to interact directly to other machines and the question of how to manage this complex environment has never been more important. Across the industry, the Broadband Forum’s TR-069 technical specification is recognized as the ‘gold standard’ of remote management that enables us to correctly and cost-effectively manage, monitor and control the wide range of devices and systems

Full Article

Networks have grown far more complex than ever before and support a greater diversity of devices carrying out interactions, including game consoles, set-top boxes, VoIP phones and PCs. With the barrage of daily security vulnerabilities affecting traffic flow in the home network, these devices must be managed in order to maintain the quality of service and increase resiliency of home networks.

The development of the Broadband Forum’s flagship Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) Wide Area Network (WAN) Management Protocol (CWMP), otherwise known as the TR-069 technical specification, is already easily one of the most widely deployed broadband home management standards. A new report published by global research and analyst firm Ovum confirms that – by the end of 2011 – TR-069 enabled devices globally totaled more than 147 million and are growing fast.

Originally conceived for the burgeoning home networking market, TR-069 has been extensively updated and expanded to cover business services, Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and Cloud environments. TR-069 provides service providers with the ability to remotely provision and manage devices from their Auto Configuration Server (ACS) in the provider’s network. The ACS can receive notifications from a CPE when specific settings or parameters are altered and can respond by either resetting the parameter or alerting the service provider. Additional, the communications between the ACS and the CPE can be secured using Transport Layer Security (TLS), making eavesdropping or tampering impossible. Sessions are also authenticated each time the CPE contacts the ACS and vice versa. The protocol is set to become even more pervasive following the launch in October 2012 of the first ever Broadband Forum TR-069 CPE Certification Program.

TR-069 Management Architectural Framework

There is an ever growing TR-069 family of extensive and modular manageable ‘data models’, defining a wide range of devices and software module functionality, and the technical specification is referenced by many industry bodies such as 3GPP, ATIS, CCSA, ETSI, HGI, ITU-T amongst others. It was approved by ETSI as a European standard in 2010 and is currently referenced in ETSI M2M architecture as a protocol for device management.

Certification means certainty for operators and users

The Broadband Forum TR-069 Certification Program is the only program in the broadband industry that will fully qualify TR-069 functionality of CPE. It will provide the broadband industry with the baseline for CWMP functionality present in CPE devices. This offers broadband vendors and service providers a valuable metric to judge CWMP enabled CPE devices. An important aspect of the program is that the certification expands beyond broadband gateway testing to include other devices such as set-top boxes (STBs), Ethernet IP-based telephones, analog telephone adaptors, Femto Access Points, energy meters and a variety of M2M modules.

The goal of the program is to verify that devices are TR-069 protocol-compliant and market-ready. The main objectives are to improve device management and interoperability, making it more cost effective and simple for service providers to provision and manage the plethora of devices coming online.

In this initiative the Broadband Forum will work closely with the prestigious University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL), the independent laboratory dedicated to testing data networking technologies through industry collaboration.

The Broadband Forum Certification program has substantial advantages for all participants in the value chain. Introducing Certification for TR-069 enabled products will provide additional assurance for operators and service providers making their investment decisions. The program will ensure network compliance and quality, and also offer service providers an enhanced level of confidence that certified CPE devices in the customers’ homes will interoperate better with their remote management ACS.

For the first time it will be possible that CPE devices of many different types are able to be certified, fully implementing the TR-069 protocol. For consumers, the automatic remote management enhancements empowered by TR-069 over their home networks promise hassle-free service provisioning, trouble-shooting and upgrades.

The TR-069 Certification is a simple and clear message to the industry of a device’s market ready status, and helps equipment and system vendors reduce testing overhead and easily market their products – increasing their ability to address a larger market overall. The program will also make the integration of home networking systems and equipment into providers’ networks that much easier. There’s a dividend, too, in the request for proposals process, in that CSPs can now specify TR-069 Certification as a requirement, and CPE and other vendors can demonstrate compliance with that requirement.

TR-069 – market demand is growing more complex

The Connected Home has become a reality in most markets around the world. The idea of connecting multiple disparate devices in the home, and delivering services using combinations of managed broadband access is one that has considerable appeal to a number of interested parties.

For consumers home networking resonates nicely with modern lifestyles that are characterised by a growing demand for content, information and communications to be ‘always on’ and available 24/7. The offer could include networking and blending of voice, data and video communications, the interconnection of digital media and entertainment devices, the remote control and monitoring of domestic appliances, the managed supply and use of utilities, new environmental control and security system services and even e-healthcare solutions. However, consumers need to be confident that their networks are reliable and secure, without worrying about outside cyber threats.

For service and device providers, there is a huge market potential in the home network. New analysis from ABI Research, for example, suggests that by 2014, shipments of core home networking equipment, along with networked-enabled media devices (CE devices with network connectivity, excluding computers and mobile devices) will exceed one billion units.

Following on from this, the producers of digital home solutions, CE equipment and ‘smart’ meters and appliances have the opportunity to sell more products if they can ensure they are easily integrated into a home network and can be effectively managed remotely. Interestingly, according to consumer insight data from the Ovum global research and analyst firm, the average number of different types of connected devices already stands at over three per broadband subscriber.

M2M – over 13 billion connected devices by 2016

Looking specifically at smart devices and the M2M market, estimates show that this sector is growing rapidly. By 2016 there will be over 13 billion connected devices worldwide with service revenues growing to nearly US$780 billion. Applications within a wide range of environments include security and infrastructure, IT, healthcare, transportation, buildings, energy and industrial environments and forecasts indicate growth in all these sectors.

Huge Potential Market – by 2016 revenues will grow to nearly $780 billion
Source: Harbor Research

M2M enables a range of devices to communicate with one another and is generally used in smart networking applications, where one device captures or measures and records an event within an environment, such as temperature, light or stock levels. This data is then communicated to other devices that can interpret and trigger and action, such as adjusting heating, or re-ordering goods.

The Broadband Forum sees this networking in three stages – the terminal or device (perception and measurement), the network (providing ubiquitous access and interconnection) and the application which provides data analytics and control. It is easy to see how implementation of the TR-069 management protocol in networks, and requiring Broadband Forum TR-069 Certification of devices will help to make this rapidly growing market more stable.

Managing expectations and user experience

As mentioned earlier, Ovum recently released a report that assesses the importance of
TR-069 in the increasingly complex market of connected home devices, and confirms widespread market adoption of TR-069. The report, based on surveys of fixed line operators, ACS vendors and CPE vendors, plus Ovum’s own forecasts and a wide range of other data, shows that – by the end of 2011 – TR-069 enabled devices had passed 147 million. One conclusion is that more organizations, operators, service providers and equipment manufacturers are supporting increasingly complex services and are looking to this specification to make certain that their networks and devices are market-ready and adhere to global standards.

TR-069 enabled devices: total installed base by region
YE 2011
Asia/Asia Pacific 59,825,000
Europe 46,703,000
Americas 28,230,000
Middle East & Africa 13,218,000
Source: Ovum Connected Home Report, 2012

According to the Ovum analysis, broadband gateway devices make up the largest proportion of TR-069 managed devices in today’s market – they account for around 70 percent of devices managed by TR-069 but Ovum predicts that percentage to drop over time as service providers become more actively engaged in managing the full home network experience. Ovum also estimates that TR-069 is currently being used to some extent by the vast majority of fixed line operators globally to manage CPE on their broadband networks.

TR-069 enabled devices: total installed base by device type
YE 2011
Residential Gateway 103,583,000
Set-top Box 22,196,000
Femtocell 7,399,000
IP Phone 3,699,000
Network Attached Storage 3,699,000
Home Automation and Control 7,399,000
Source: Ovum Connected Home Report, 2012

The role of TR-069 is therefore critical to providers’ ability to monitor, manage and control what is an increasingly complex array of connected devices, terminals and equipment. By doing so it ensures secure networking and enables service providers to maintain higher levels of quality of end user experience. As cyber threats become more prevalent, prevention must keep pace. With the advent of Broadband Forum TR-069 Certification, TR-069 provides the key to expediting the exciting growth and potential of Connected Home services around the world.

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