Broadband Forum targets SD-WAN trend with vBG network specification

The Broadband Forum has published the distributed virtualized Customer Premises Equipment (vCPE) standard, aiming to provide network standards for the growing SD-WAN segment for businesses.

The new standard, which is part of the organization’s effort to accelerate its work on Open Broadband, CloudCentral Office (CO) and SD-WAN, virtual Business Gateway (vBG) (TR-328) accelerates the delivery of interoperable business services such as enterprise class firewall and WAN optimization.

Developed by the Open Networking User Group (ONUG), the Broadband Forum’s SD-WAN standard is enabled by the vBG, which connects to other Broadband Forum initiatives such as CloudCO and the Network Enhanced Residential Gateway.

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Creating a standard for SD-WAN and other virtual business service functions makes sense, particularly as a growing base of traditional telcos, CLECs and now cable operators are rolling out virtual services.

IDC estimates that worldwide SD-WAN infrastructure and services revenues will see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 69.6% and reach $8.05 billion in 2021.

Broadband Forum
Robin Mersh

“As operators look to transform their networks with greater use of software and virtualization, demand for solutions, such as the vBG and CloudCO, with these associated reference implementations and API’s is growing – the market is now ready for standards-based software deliverables for Open Broadband,” said Robin Mersh, CEO of Broadband Forum, in a release.

Completing this specification comes at the same time as the Forum begins work on two major software projects for Open Broadband and makes significant progress on its CloudCO project.

The Broadband Forum said that the vBG system enables greater efficiency in service provider networks by virtualizing some of the functionality of a Business Gateway into a flexible hosting environment, which may be located at the customer premises, in the operator's network, such as a CloudCO, or using a combination of the two approaches.

By using the vBG, a service provider could simplify customer-located and customer self-provisioning through a web portal, enabling it to enhance new service delivery times, shutting down unsuccessful services and up-selling value-added services. All of this can be done without the need to deploy specialized hardware devices to remote enterprise sites.

CloudCO User Managed Objects Framework project creates a cloud-based user interface framework and a user-managed oriented objects template that can be used by all providers. This aims to satisfy customer requirements such as SD-WAN, where the customer wants to have WAN resource telemetry in the user browsers, portals, and for use by their applications. It will leverage and extend the Forum’s work on the vBG and will use standardized API’s such as DMTF Redfish.

The second key project is Broadband Access Abstraction Open Source which addresses the requirements, architecture, design, and software required to support the virtualization of access device functionality and enabling an open and interoperable unified management interface for access equipment from different vendors.

This project will be managed under the Broadband Forum’s agile Open Broadband software initiative, allowing for member and non-member participation to create a fast feedback loop between the specifications and the source code reference implementation that supports them.

Spearheaded by groups of major service providers and their manufacturer partners, these new software projects are the first open source initiatives undertaken by the Forum.

The vBG was published and the Open Broadband projects were launched during the Broadband Forum’s Q3 meeting, which took place in Helsinki Finland.

Broadband Forum overall has been taking an active role in driving virtualization efforts for the last mile broadband network. In July 2016, Broadband and ON.Lab entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate on Central Office Re-architected as Data Center (CORD), advancing virtualization into the last mile network via SDN and NFV.