The next era of broadband relies on open source and standards joining forces

Robin Mersh addresses Broadband World Forum delegates, calling on the industry to embrace the best of both open standards and open source.

The unification of opensource with open standards will be essential tothe efficient and cost-effective deliveryof emergingbroadband access technologies and services, Broadband ForumCEO Robin Mersh said yesterday.

Speaking during Broadband World Forum 2018, Mersh highlighted the agility and speed of open sourceas being crucial for operators looking to bring new programmability to their networks through virtualization and cloud-based techniques.

Standards, he said, are needed to converge the industry on common architecture and migration approaches, and on the equipment requirements needed to make new advanced services a reality. Thus, standards play a key role in providing the migration paths that safeguardoperators’ existing asset investments and create opportunitiesfor new service development and innovation.

“The future of broadband is dependent upon embracing the reality that open source and standards are interdependent,” said Mersh. “While the agility and speed of open source is a vital element in developing the infrastructure needed to support 5G, the connected home, cloudification and bandwidth-hungry business services, standards create the large addressable markets and evolution plans necessary to bring current broadband networks forward. The Broadband Forum, with its Open Broadband initiative, is making this future requirement a reality today.”

According to Mersh, operators looking to bring these qualities to their networks want to do so without unnecessarily disrupting their current environment.

“Operators don’t want to throw away the hundreds of billions of dollarsinvested in infrastructure they already have,” he continued. “This means we need to map open source innovations on to existing deployments so that new functionality can be added simply and with the highest possible return on invested capital and with minimal disruption to subscribers.”

Mersh emphasized the importance of marrying opensource and standards development by highlighting a number of Broadband Forum initiatives which are being carried out with open source innovators in mind. Projects are either being developed cooperatively, using techniques developed by open source communities or developed with open source communities more directly.

Just last week, the Forum announced it is working with prpl Foundation to develop an opensource reference implementation of the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED EasyMesh™ specifications which will make it easier and faster to deliver intelligent, carrier grade, whole-home and small business broadband Wi-Fi coverage. The Broadband Forum’s Open Broadband Multi-Access Point (OB-MAP) project will ensure the software project is scalable to large service provider deployments via carriergrade manageability.

Referring to this during his presentation, entitled “The New Broadband Network – Powered by Open Standards and Open Source,” Mersh was quick to point out that marrying the two techniques must be bigger than just one project.

“The Broadband Forum has done this a number of times now and we have developed a good model,” he said. “Going forward, we have to take a holistic approach and we have to rapidly develop consensus – and, of course, that is what standardization is all about.”

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