Broadband Forum's new ONU intelligence eases virtualization of fiber access networks

July 29, 2022
New Broadband Forum technical documents seek to make virtualization and use of software-defined access networks easier for operators.
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The Broadband Forum has this month released its TR-451 “vOMCI Specification” and MR-451 “ONU Management using Virtualized OMCI” documents.

Together, the organization asserts that the new documents will make virtualization and use of software-defined access networks easier to deploy for operators.

The management cycle of a typical ONU traditionally has been tied to a specific vendor’s optical line terminal (OLT), the Broadband Forum points out.

The specification described in the new documents will enable network operators to de-couple the optical network unit (ONU) and OLT for control and management purposes.

Virtualized ONU Management (vOMCI) enables the centralization of operations without relying on each OLT to act as a management entity, according to Broadband Forum.

Acceptance and use of TR-451 potentially will increase the number of third-party ONU vendors, the organization asserts.

Use of the specification also will make interoperability testing and on-boarding of ONUs easier. The specification supports multiple deployment models in which virtualized functions can be deployed to the cloud or within existing management systems.

“The latest specification can be used in the evolution of the management of ONUs, not as a replacement for the management processes and data models already in use by operators but to future-proof their infrastructure while maintaining their investment in existing ONU devices,” said Bruno Cornaglia, co-director of the SDN/NFV Work Area at Broadband Forum. “Ultimately, ONU management will be more adaptive to changes in operators’ processes and services, as well as less costly to maintain.”

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