Advancements in Key 5G Convergence Standards

Broadband Forum’s latest 5G advancements are reshaping the landscape for next-generation applications, bolstering network resilience, and fortifying support for converged services in residential settings. Through seamless integration of wireless and wireline networks, these developments herald a new era of connectivity and service excellence.

Building upon the groundwork laid by 3GPP’s Release 18, Broadband Forum’s Phase 18.1 specifications introduce a host of enhancements aimed at enriching the capabilities of operators. These advancements empower operators to tailor Quality of Service offerings, facilitating a smooth transition towards a unified 5G Core infrastructure alongside a multi-vendor broadband network.

The benefits are manifold. Customers stand to gain from enhanced value and a superior Quality of Experience, while operators can streamline their operations, consolidate IT systems, and reduce Total Cost of Ownership.

Manuel Paul, Deutsche Telekom and Broadband Forum WWC Work Area Co-Director, underscores the significance of these developments: “By defining functional improvements and capabilities for multi-vendor 5G broadband networks, BBF’s work caters to the needs of fixed and mobile operators alike. This convergence enables operators to unify their offerings and deliver a consistent experience to subscribers across diverse access mediums.”

Key to these advancements are the efforts of Broadband Forum’s Wireless-Wireline Convergence (WWC) Work Area, which is spearheading the creation of five new specifications under Phase 18.1. These specifications address critical use cases such as business services support, hybrid access, network data analytics, and seamless integration of devices behind a 5G Residential Gateway (5G-RG). Moreover, network slicing empowers operators to prioritize bandwidth allocation for specific subscriber groups, catering to diverse needs like home office productivity or gaming.

Documents such as WT-456 Issue 3, WT-458 Issue 2, and WT-470 Issue 3, along with related extensions of CPE device requirements and data models, expand the deployment horizons for operators, offering increased flexibility and revenue potential.

Christele Bouchat, Nokia and Broadband Forum WWC Work Area Co-Director, emphasizes the collaborative nature of these efforts: “Our Phase 18.1 work is guided by industry demand and operator priorities, aimed at providing enhanced flexibility, revenue opportunities, and deployment alternatives. Through close alignment with 3GPP, we ensure synergy within the broadband industry, enabling operators to deliver broadband services effectively and affordably.”

These developments build upon previous milestones such as Control-User Plane Separation (CUPS) for multi-vendor support and the introduction of the combined AGF-5G-User Plane (“Broadband-UPF”). Technical Reports TR-493 and TR-494 further converge residential voice support onto modern 5G networks, paving the way for a future of seamless connectivity and enhanced service delivery.

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