Broadband Forum publishes standards to boost global use of optical access


Standards define application programming interface (API) to replace dynamic bandwidth assignment (DBA) software module.

Using the API to replace the DBA software module allows optical access systems to provide a wide range of services quickly and cheaply, including support for 5G fronthaul interfaces and enterprise services.

NTT and Chunghwa Telecom jointly proposed use cases for the DBA software module and developed the API specifications as international standards within the Broadband Forum.

“These technical advances will enable carriers to use a common access system for a diverse range of services including the accommodation of base stations for 5G mobile systems, which place strict requirements on acceptable latency thresholds,” said Jun Terada, General Manager at NTT Access Network Service System Laboratories.

“We believe that the widespread use of the API as an international standard will lead to the drastic expansion of the application area of optical access systems.”

Time-critical applications

The new standards are part of the Broadband Forum’s work on an abstraction interface for time-critical applications on passive optical networks. The project began back in 2017, launched by NTT. It comprises two technical reports, TR-402 and TR-403.

The first gives an overview how to capture the DBA function in a module, including a use case for 5G base stations over an optical access network, and specifies the functional requirements of the API. TR-403 provides the details of the API, including format and performance requirements.

Next steps

Next NTT plans to encapsulate the remaining access functions in modules in cooperation with carriers, system vendors, standards organisations and open source software communities in a bid to avoid the cost of redeveloping hardware to meet various requirements.
Robin Mersh, CEO, Broadband Forum, commented, “The work fits perfectly with our other initiatives around next-generation access and will enable operators to cost-effectively upgrade their optical access networks as they prepare for the 5G era.

“We applaud NTT for its innovation and its commitment to feeding this work into new industry-wide standards which will create an open broadband infrastructure and simulate mass deployment.”