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Nokia to lead Broadband Access Abstraction open source initiative

Broadband cabinet

Fixed access networks in need of some TLC... © Flickr/cc-licence/Samu Lang

  • Broadband Forum initiative on Broadband Access Abstraction
  • Nokia first to contribute open source software to project
  • Goal is to accelerate adoption of software-defined fixed access networks
  • Enabling management of open, multi-vendor access networks

Nokia has announced that it is playing a leading role in the Broadband Forum's effort to stimulate fixed access network innovation by leading the new Broadband Access Abstraction (BAA) project. The initiative seeks to drive the adoption of software-defined access networks through the contribution of open source software, bringing together vendors and operators to ensure they are aligned with industry specifications to meet the needs of operators globally.

Nokia says it is the first vendor partner to contribute open source code under the BAA project. Fully aligned with the Broadband Forum's standard data models, the open source code delivers common management functionality, making it easier to operate multi-vendor, multi-technology access networks and letting operators and vendors focus on developing new innovative cloud capabilities.

“Open source software is a powerful tool that can make us more efficient as an industry,” said Federico Guillén, president of Nokia's Fixed Networks Business Group. “However, one of the biggest hurdles is simply getting started. Together with Broadband Forum, Nokia is driving an agile and collaborative environment that produces reusable software for fixed access operators across the globe.”

The project seeks to define a software reference implementation for an open BAA layer, which would eliminate dependencies on vendor-specific equipment and proprietary software functions by providing standardised interfaces and decoupling implementation from the underlying hardware.

Aligning open source to industry specifications

“By opening and standardizing the common, generic part of the network software, we avoid the need to re-write that same software for every technology, every vendor and every node,” added Guillén. “In turn, we can now focus our efforts on developing new applications and capabilities that make the network faster, better and smarter. For example, converging fixed and mobile networks, fronthauling 5G over fibre-access networks, automating operations and building self-healing and self-optimizing networks."

The project has been set up within the Broadband Forum under the Open Broadband program and taps into its experience in defining network architectures that fulfil a wide range of requirements and operator needs. The Forum believes that developing both the specifications and reference codes under a single organisational umbrella will shorten feedback loops and reduce the development efforts and testing cycles required.

"This will help reduce the time and efforts needed to achieve interoperability and help operators to develop a framework for cloud infrastructure in the central office,” said Robin Mersh, CEO of Broadband Forum. “By aligning open source code to industry specifications, the Forum can effectively collaborate with the open source community to aid in development and testing.”

“The BAA open source initiative creates an open environment amongst vendors and operators that helps to accelerate the creation and introduction of new and innovative services,” added Mauro Tilocca, project manager of Wireline Innovation and Access Network Automation at Telecom Italia. “The alignment with the Broadband Forum gives us confidence and assurance that any software conceived under the initiative will be interoperable and meet the various specifications of our network."

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