|Issue:||Asia-Pacific II 2009|
|Topic:||Standards for Broadband Convergence|
|Title:||Chief Operating Officer|
Robin Mersh is the Broadband Forum’s Chief Operating Officer and, as such, is the senior full time executive. He has worked in the telecommunications industry for over 14 years. He started in sales and sales management for Cable & Wireless and then moved on to BT. Mr Mersh has worked in business development and alliance management for various OSS software companies in the United States, mainly in network and service provisioning and activation for companies like Astracon, TTI Telecom and Evolving Systems. Robin Mersh received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honours from Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London.
Businesses depend upon broadband for their advanced applications. Industry standards that keep up with changing technologies are fundamental to the development of high quality reliable services. The Broadband Forum has long set the pace for the sector by providing the standards that allow for the orderly merging of existing networks and new technologies into the hybrid networks the market demands. By specifying access integration, network architectures and management protocols they ensure service providers can engineer and support their multi-access networks.
It’s 2009, and everyone is talking about convergence. Each conversation is different though as convergence has many layers and aspects to be explored. At the Broadband Forum, we are also talking convergence – about how the rapidly emerging hybrid network market demands new standards for access integration, architecture conformity and a single management protocol and structure to ensure service providers can easily engineer and support their multi-access networks effectively. Until very recently, the industry had a relatively simple division of the market between DSL and cable. By the end of 2008, that picture was very different when fibre hit a major milestone of more than 50 million customers served, and it became very clear that PON (passive optical networks) and hybrid networks were alive and growing exponentially. As business and application requirements drove more and more fibre and wireless into the networks, it was clear that supporting this growth would require new standards for integrating the access transport into the traditional network architecture especially at the access aggregation point. Since September 2003, the Broadband Forum has been making strides defining the global requirements for the multiservice architecture (Technical Report 58 [TR-058]) as well as developing the architecture requirements for Quality of Service (QoS) enabled IP networks (TR-059). In April of 2006, the de facto standard for IP Ethernet Access Aggregation was published as TR-101. Migration to Ethernet Access Aggregation – TR-101 provided the roadmap for moving from ATM access aggregation to an Ethernet-based architecture. This has become a global standard for triple-play deployments for residential and business customers that use DSL as the broadband access technology. However, many of TR-101’s architecture specifications are access agnostic, and they are also widely used today with other access technologies, especially FTTx / PON (fibre to the ‘x’/PON). TR-156 – GPON Access into TR-101 Access Aggregation – was developed and approved at the end of 2008; it brings one of the fastest growing access options in line with TR-101. Eagerly awaited, TR-156 strengthens the TR-101 requirements as applied to GPON (gigabit passive optical networks) by providing more detailed and specific requirements. In order to reduce operational complexity and maximize equipment interoperability, a specified subset of the GPON’s flexible configuration arrangements facilitate the implementation of TR-101’s VLAN (virtual local area network) architecture options. Other parts of this specification enable providers to take full advantage of a GPON’s abilities, and to ensure a seamless integration of GPONs into traditional broadband networks. The next area of importance in the hybrid network environment is management and support of the rapidly evolving digital home. As more broadband intensive applications took root, and the many user-to-many device environment expanded, more PON was rolled out and the management protocol originally designed for DSL environments was called upon to evolve as well to address PON and to serve the array of new devices hitting the market. Customer WAN Management Protocol (CWMP), more widely known simply as TR-069, quickly became the management protocol used by major service providers around the world. This is because it is robust and has a variety of key attributes, such as: • access neutral, bi-directional SOAP/HTTP-based messaging; • bootstrap communication and device discovery capabilities; • ability to set or get configuration information, diagnostics, status and performance info; • firmware/image management; • alerts based on changes to specific settings; and • independent gateway data model in common with TR-064, extensible to additional devices and capabilities. The benefits of TR-069 were also clear: • empowered profitable and seamless service deployment; • higher layer protocol – network (and device) agnostic; • provided robust functionality; • established well-defined extensibility mechanisms; • adhered to standard web technologies; and • applicable to full range of devices on home network. Though access-neutral, TR-069 was recently enhanced with the release of TR-069 Framework for PON” TR-142. This provides a framework for the remote configuration and management of services of optical network termination (ONT) devices with IP-based services over PON and fibre access technology. This management protocol evolves with the introduction of the latest devices, and the Broadband Forum addresses these new devices with data models that make each device readily recognized as well as remotely provisioned and managed via the TR-069 Auto-configuration Server (ACS) in the provider’s network. The Femto Forum, 3GPP and the Broadband Forum recently released the world’s first femtocell standard, officially published by 3GPP, which is paving the way for the production of standardized femtocells in large volumes and enabling interoperability between different vendors’ access points and femto gateways. The new standard forms part of 3GPP’s Release 8 and is interdependent with Broadband Forum’s TR-069 extension; Femto Access Point Data Model TR-196. It incorporates a new data model for femtocells developed collaboratively by Femto Forum and Broadband Forum members. Since TR-069 is already widely used in fixed broadband networks and in set top boxes (STBs), this will allow mobile operators to simplify deployment and enable automated remote provisioning, diagnostics checking and software updates. The standard also uses a combination of security measures including IKEv2 (Internet Key Exchange v2) and IPsec (IP Security) protocols to authenticate the operator and subscriber and then guarantee the privacy of the data exchanged. This is just one of many new examples of broadband convergence that is being addressed, and the Broadband Forum is positioned to continue to be at the centre of next generation evolution. With a focus on integration and simple, effective road-ready solutions, the forum’s work empowers providers around the world to make intelligent infrastructure investment with the security of mind to know that their management platform can handle whatever comes next.