Broadband Forum, SDN/NFV Industry Alliance partner on network transformation

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The Broadband Forum and SDN/NFV Industry Alliance have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly set up an Open Broadband Laboratory Asia (OBLA) and promote the development of network transformation and cloud evolution.

The partnership – which was signed during the China SDN/NFV Conference in Beijing last week – also introduces the Forum’s Open Broadband initiative, with a mission to create an open framework for cloud-based broadband. Open Broadband Labs are a collaborative resource for the integration, staging and testing of open source, commercial software, standards-based and vendor implementations where suppliers, integrators and operators can work together on new and coexisting solutions.

The focus of Open Broadband Labs, such as OBLA, is acceleration of go-to-market and go-to-production for new services and applications, and the migration from existing broadband infrastructures to cloud-based ones introducing NFV and SDN technologies.

Under the agreement, the Forum will exclusively license the SDN/NFV Industry Alliance to undertake the construction of OBLA in China and to conduct conformance and interoperability testing, migration best practices, technical due diligence and training around the project.

The SDN/NFV Industry Alliance will build and manage the OBLA, while the Broadband Forum will provide technical direction, testing methods, a standards framework and domain expertise. The aim of the project is to develop network cloud standards verification, testing, solution conformance and a proving ground for new services.

“As operators look to bring the efficiencies of data centers and cloud technologies to the network, gradually transforming it to a software-based infrastructure, it is incredibly important that we speed up standards, testing, conformance and best practice to ensure smarter, programmable and faster networks that deliver leading edge capability for operators and world-class experience for their customers,” said Broadband Forum Chairman Kevin Foster, of BT. “This new lab facility is a strategic and natural evolution of the Forum’s ongoing work on virtualization and cloud, with almost every project in our current scope now connected to these next-generation network technologies. We look forward to strengthening this work with the SDN/NFV Industry Alliance.”

The OBLA builds on the Forum’s ongoing and completed virtualization and cloud projects, including the Network Enhanced Residential Gateway, which shifts functionalities from the Residential Gateway to the operator’s network, Cloud Central Office, Fixed Access Network Sharing, SDN in the Access Network, and the virtual Business Gateway.

This complements the SDN/NFV Industry Alliance’s focus on increasing the readiness in SDN commercial utilization and promoting the healthy development of the SDN industry.

“The lack of standards and a unified framework for Network Cloud and SDN is a significant problem, which leads to fragmentation in the industry and defeats interoperability, slowing the industry’s development. As one of the most important organizations in broadband, the Broadband Forum’s Open Broadband Lab can be the unified and standardized platform to address the fragmentation issues and resolve the problems the industry is facing,” said Mr. Wei Leping, President of the SDN/NFV Industry Alliance, and China Telecom Beijing Research Institute. “China SDN/NFV Industry Alliance is pleased to collaborate with the Forum to create the physical laboratory and verify the standardized framework, testing for interoperability and enabling application development based on this platform.”