Broadband Forum Publishes Standards for Multi-vendor ONU Interoperability

Operators can reduce the time and cost associated with onboarding new Optical Network Unit (ONU) vendors, roll out services faster as well as migrate and evolve their networks by applying innovations and flexibility thanks to the publication of two Broadband Forum documents.

Broadband Forum’s TR-451 ‘vOMCI Specification’ and MR-451 ‘ONU Management using Virtualized OMCI’ have armed operators with more choice in how they create, activate and maintain services associated with ONUs.

Previously, the management cycle of the ONU was tied to a specific vendor’s Optical Line Terminal (OLT). The latest specification enables operators to de-couple the ONU and OLT from control and management purposes, with the Virtualized ONU Management (vOMCI) being introduced as a solution to centralize operations without relying on each OLT to act as a management entity.

This means operators’ OLT vendors no longer need to be involved in the roll-out of the management services and features provided by the ONU. TR-451 also increases the number of potential ONU vendors, allowing operators to negotiate the best prices for ONUs.

The specification enables easier interoperability testing and on-boarding of ONUs within an operator’s ecosystem and cloud-based network. It supports deployment models where virtualized functions can be deployed to the cloud or within existing management system solutions.

“The latest specification can be used in the evolution of the management of ONUs, not as a replacement for the management processes and data models already in use by operators but to future-proof their infrastructure while maintaining their investment in existing ONU devices,” said Bruno Cornaglia, co-director of the SDN/NFV Work Area at Broadband Forum. “Ultimately, ONU management will be more adaptive to changes in operators’ processes and services, as well as less costly to maintain.”

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