SDN controller drives FTTH, broadband access networks

Active Broadband Networks has added software-defined networking (SDN) capabilities to its Dynamic Broadband Service Manager (DBSM) platform that enable carriers to apply an intelligent, software-defined service layer for the common control and active management of broadband services, including on fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks.

According to the company, the DBSM now leverages the IPFIX protocol to collect network stream telemetry data on traffic flows and network use for real-time service management applications that require timely and accurate information about bandwidth consumption and network conditions. IPFIX, developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), uses the Stream Control Transmission Protocol (SCTP) and specifies a uniform and extensible method for collecting IP flow information from elements in any type of IP network.

Now, operating as an SDN controller, the DBSM can use the OpenFlow protocol to activate services and manage subscriber traffic flows through SDN-enabled network elements at the broadband edge. OpenFlow structures communication between the control and data planes of SDN-enabled network infrastructure, and allows the DBSM to directly implement service management policies for fine-grained control of subscriber traffic flows, Active Broadband Networks says.

"The increasing cost and complexity of managing broadband services is a result of the functional constraints of proprietary software embedded in network elements and the performance limitations of existing OSS/BSS solutions," comments Adam Dunstan, CEO of Active Broadband.

Dunstan adds, "Moving control plane and performance-critical network functions into SDN software running on high-performance server platforms will transform how broadband services are offered and allow network operators to tailor services to the individual needs of subscribers. The DBSM is the first of a new breed of SDN controller for service management applications to gain full visibility into and direct control over subscriber traffic flows at the broadband edge by exploiting the capabilities of SDN-enabled network elements."

The DBSM can manage and control subscriber traffic flows through any SDN-enabled network element that supports OpenFlow and IPFIX, according to the company. To ensure this capability, Active Broadband says it will conduct interoperability testing and demonstrate its new SDN controller at upcoming industry events by using OpenFlow to control Open vSwitch software running on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) Intel-based hardware platforms capable of multi-gigabit throughput.

"A key goal of service providers is to use SDN technology to 'listen' to their networks, dynamically analyze that information, then make on-the-fly adjustments to traffic patterns in order to make the network run hotter -- which lowers capex -- and deliver a better quality of experience to higher paying subscribers," explains Michael Howard, principal analyst at Infonetics Research.

"Active Broadband is using SDN technology to overcome the limitations found in most legacy policy, network management, and OSS/BSS software," adds Howard. "Their new SDN-enabled service management product set is designed for the broadband edge, which can immediately benefit from these new technologies. Operators can deploy dynamically managed services that are monetized based on application type, connection speed, bandwidth consumption, and time of day."

In addition to FTTH networks, the DBSM also can provide SDN capabilities to DSL, cable and WiFi networks.

Source:  Lightwave

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