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Broadband Forum welcomes VMware and EANTC as technology partners to launch European Open Broadband Lab

The new partnership provides an industry sandbox to accelerate multi-vendor innovation and incubation in areas like 5G, network slicing and wireless-wireline convergence

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Broadband Forum announced VMware and the European Advanced Networking Test Center (EANTC) as technology partners in the launch of the European Open Broadband Lab as a joint effort to accelerate network transformation and migration to a cloud-based broadband infrastructure.

Beginning in mid-2019, the lab will host test campaigns for vendor and Communications Service Provider (CSP) members of the Broadband Forum. All parties will be able to validate multi-vendor interoperability of their virtualized solutions and broadband access infrastructure aligning with Broadband Forum standards on full Network Function Virtualization (NFV) infrastructures.

Operators have also given their support to the lab, with Bruno Cornaglia, Fixed Access Senior Manager at Vodafone Group, saying: “We welcome the establishment of this new laboratory which is a significant step towards establishing interoperability for virtualization techniques such as SDN and NFV, addressing use cases such as Fixed Access Network Sharing (FANS).”

Within the partnership, Broadband Forum maintains the Open Broadband Infrastructure (OB-I) architecture and publishes a multitude of use cases for innovation to be tested against. VMware has provided and installed the virtualization platform, while EANTC organizes and hosts test campaigns, and will provide ongoing expertise.

The partnership and formation of the Open Broadband Lab Europe (OBLE) further develops Broadband Forum’s Open Broadband initiative, with the laboratory in Europe following the establishment of OBLA in Beijing in collaboration with SDN/NFV Industry Alliance in May 2017.

Open Broadband aims to create an open framework for cloud-based broadband, while the Open Broadband Labs provide a collective resource for the testing, staging and integration of broadband related services and applications, including standards-based, open source and commercial software, giving suppliers and operators the opportunity to work alongside each other in developing new and co-existing solutions.

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“Establishing the Open Broadband lab in Europe is an incredibly exciting development for Broadband Forum,” said Broadband Forum CEO Robin Mersh. “This partnership takes our Open Broadband initiative to the next level and will help operators migrate to next-generation networks and architectures, including 5G and CloudCO, that are capable of meeting rising consumer demand for more bandwidth, better and more agile broadband and the introduction of innovative new services.”

The new OBLE adds to Broadband Forum’s ongoing and completed projects in this area, including Cloud Central Office (CloudCO), Fixed Access Network Sharing (FANS) and PON for Time Critical Applications. Spanning hybrid cloud to edge computing, VMware’s consistent infrastructure, consistent operations and OpenStack support empowers CSPs to digitally transform from ‘connectivity providers’ to agile sources of rich 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) services and dynamic content.

“We are delighted to be a partner in Europe’s Open Broadband Laboratory, providing the technology platform to help operators innovate and develop new, competitive services to the market,” said Yves Hertoghs, Product Stream Leader for Broadband Forum’s CloudCO project and Principal Systems Engineer at VMware. “Open standards and open interfaces, combined with a vendor-independent NFV infrastructure, are essential for operators looking for a cost-effective and smooth migration to next-generation architectures, and this initiative will play a key role in developing these standards and interfaces.”

For EANTC, an internationally-recognized objective test center, the partnership will build on its existing work around interoperability and performance testing for network technologies and applications.

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Managing Director and co-founder Carsten Rossenhövel said: “We are delighted that Broadband Forum has selected EANTC to host the European Open Broadband Lab. This initiative aligns closely with our existing multi-vendor quality assurance programs for fixed and mobile services virtualization. We will contribute our vendor-independent experience and knowledge to support next-generation broadband services development throughout the entire lifecycle of networks. We have every confidence the new lab will be an important link between vendor and operator testing initiatives to accelerate efficient development as we enter the next era of connectivity.”

The lab follows another development in the Broadband Forum, with a series of recently-published CloudCO Application Notes – which define a number of operator use cases – representing a significant step forward in Software Defined Access (SDA) and acting as a blueprint for tests to be performed in the labs.

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Focusing on High Speed Internet Access (HSIA) Service, the Network Enhanced Residential Gateway (NERG) Service Initialization, Fixed Access Network Sharing (FANS) and Access Devices, the six Application Notes are designed to help operators drive and test requirements for next-generation SDA.

To hear more about Broadband Forum’s work in accelerating innovation in 5G, wireless-wireline convergence, and CloudCO and the role of the Open Broadband Labs in facilitating this, view this video interview of Yves Hertoghs by Broadband Forum CMO Geoff Burke.

For more information about the Broadband Forum’s CloudCO projects, including details on the CloudCO Applications Notes that will be leveraged in the new labs, view this video interview of Chris Croot, Broadband Forum Co-Director of SDN & NFV Work Area.

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