Wireline and wireless services are delivered today from two distinct technology implementations with separate network cores. 5G WWC standards offer a path to a fully converged broadband access network that integrates wireless and wireline operations on a common 5G Core.
Industry-first based on 5G Wireless Wireline Convergence (WWC) standards to seamlessly integrate wireline and wireless
Call out to vendor ecosystem to integrate WWC standards into product roadmaps
Trial system in Bonn Lab takes advantage of the Access Gateway Function from Casa Systems
Using these standards in an industry first proof-of-concept, Deutsche Telekom has validated in a lab trial the feasibility of converging the fixed network control plane into a 5G Core to steer traffic from a 5G residential gateway. The traffic was then routed along the entire wireline access chain to the core network.
“Convergence will allow us to optimize our network assets and deliver new, differentiated service experiences to our customers regardless of the access used,” says Ahmed Hafez, VP Network Convergence, Deutsche Telekom. “Our tests prove the feasibility of the convergence architecture by controlling residential gateways in our fixed network from a common 5G Core.
It is critical now that the vendor ecosystem implements the standards into their product roadmaps, speeding up the time to market for end-to-end convergent solutions.”
The proof of concept was conducted on a trial system in Deutsche Telekom’s lab environment. For the 5G residential gateway, which provides the connection between the networked equipment within a home or small office to the 5G Core, a Deutsche Telekom developed prototype was used.
5G Core as common core
Operators traditionally use two separate and distinct network cores: one for wireless users and one for wireline access. The 5G Core can be implemented as a common core, where the control plane and user plane can span across wireless and wireline networks.
Therefore, the new converged network based on 5G WWC standards enables operators to support both wireline and wireless networks without unnecessary duplication of functions such as authentication, subscriber databases, charging, and network-management tools. It also creates new options for converged services.
The trial system takes advantage of 5G User Plane Function (UPF) and Access Gateway Function (AGF) from Casa Systems. Casa’s cloud-native 5G Core network functions provide multi-access support independent of network access type. And the 5G residential gateway prototype, which is internally developed at Deutsche Telekom, connects over the wireline access network.
The AGF mediates between the wireline access network and the 5G Core, with mapping between wireline broadband and 5G authentication, authorization, and session establishment procedures.
5G Wireless Wireline Convergence (WWC) is a set of standards created by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) and the Broadband Forum (BBF). This emerging set of standards offers a path to a fully converged broadband access network that serves both wireline and mobile subscribers from a single technology stack. This facilitates the use of common credentials, authentication, and a unified approach to applying network policy.
When fully implemented, WWC seamlessly integrates fixed and wireless services, simplifying service provider offerings, reducing the overall complexity of subscriber and service management, and promoting always-on services through converged connectivity.