ONU Authentication Standard Critical for Virtualized Networks

FREMONT, Calif.--()--A new Broadband Forum project focused on Optical Network Unit (ONU) authentication will play a crucial role in making sure virtualized networks can enable OPEX savings and introduce new products and services faster to market.

ONU authentication identifies ONUs that are typically installed inside the home and convert optical signals to electrical signals. Historically, this process was carried out solely by the operator’s equipment, also known as Optical Line Terminals (OLTs) that connect with ONUs. But as more network functions become disaggregated from physical equipment, it can also be carried out by functions on the network management plane.

“If the authentication process – and which part of the network is responsible for it – is not defined, it can result in inconsistent or even faulty network behavior,” said Ken Ko, Managing Director at Broadband Forum. “TR-489 will benefit all Broadband Forum Work Areas concerned with ONU authentication and management selection and continue to help the industry transition to an open, virtualized networks.”

ONU authentication also determines whether the ONU is managed by an ONU Management Control Interface (OMCI) function embedded in the OLT (eOMCI) or virtualized in the Management Plane (vOMCI). But if both the OLT and Management Plane engage management with the same ONU, it can have unpredictable results.

TR-489 ‘Authentication of an ONU and selection of eOMCI or vOMCI’ provides a clear framework to accelerate deployments and will benefit system integrators, network operators, and equipment manufacturers.

“ONU authentication is a key component to enable the benefits of virtualizing functions from the physical architecture,” said Robert Peschi, Senior Product Architect at Nokia and editor of Broadband Forum’s TR-489. “The project ensures seamless interoperable and multi-vendor networks, regardless of whether parts of the network are virtualized or not.”

TR-489 defines the global architecture and requirements and identifies the interfaces (including YANG modules) necessary to perform ONU authentication including the selection of whether the OMCI function is performed by the OLT or by a management entity in the operator’s network. Whichever is selected controls, configures, and monitors the ONU to identify potential faults, collect and analyze performance data, and encrypt data.

A variety of credentials and procedures can be used to authenticate an ONU, including matching serial number, registration ID or LOID. Which ONU authentication procedure that needs to be considered depends on operational procedures at the discretion of the operator.

TR-489 is intended to be a reference for all Broadband Forum Work Areas concerned with ONU authentication and management selection, such as TR-451 (vOMCI Interface specification) and TR-477 (Access Node Hardware Disaggregation). The requirements specified by TR-489 will be reflected in TR-385 Issue 2 Amendment 1 (ITU-T PON YANG modules).

For more information about Broadband Forum, visit: https://www.broadband-forum.org/.

About the Broadband Forum

Broadband Forum is the communications industry’s leading open standards development organization focused on accelerating broadband innovation, standards, and ecosystem development. Our members’ passion – delivering on the promise of broadband by enabling smarter and faster broadband networks and a thriving broadband ecosystem.

Broadband Forum is an open, non-profit industry organization composed of the industry’s leading broadband operators, vendors, thought leaders who are shaping the future of broadband, and observers who closely track our progress. Its work to date has been the foundation for broadband’s global proliferation and innovation. For example, the Forum’s flagship TR-069 CPE WAN Management Protocol has nearly 1 billion installations worldwide.

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