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September 15, 2017 by Alan DiCicco

What’s in your Cloud CO?

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I received great comments after last week’s blog (Are you ready for a Cloud Central Office?) about the Broadband Forum’s Cloud Central Office project. Here are some additional details as promised.

The Broadband Forum is pursuing the CloudCO project in a series of phases, with work progressing in parallel where possible. As expected, the initial work includes the definition of discrete systems and functions within the next generation central office. As traditional access systems, aggregation switches, and BNG routers are disaggregated, the functions can be optimally redefined to generate a network that addresses the need for both rapid service creation and lowest total cost of operation.

Along with each functional component comes the interface definition and software service infrastructure for CloudCO. The goal is for any physical or virtual function to be able to plug into the CloudCO network using a standard API and data model.

The current CloudCO architecture includes innovative technologies leveraging SDN, NFV, and cloud computing: 

  • Software-controlled Leaf / Spine fabric
  • Virtualized BNG control plane
  • Partially virtualized access nodes (you can’t get rid of the physical layer, after all)
  • Virtualized management for access nodes and BNG routers

Of course, there will be changes and architectural options as the Broadband Forum community works through the framework details. Additional thought is also being given to how service providers can leverage CloudCO to provide value added services.

In parallel, the Broadband Forum community is building a software reference implementation of the CloudCO framework that will eventually allow open source organizations and network function suppliers to test solution components independently. System integrators will be able to use the reference implementation to fine tune their end-to-end solutions, while network operators will be able to get hands on experience with the CloudCO. 

Ultimately, this is all good for subscribers, who will benefit from a thriving, innovative ecosystem of suppliers and service providers that provide differentiated services.

You can find Calix involved in many aspects of the CloudCO project. We contribute to the work on BNG and access node virtualization and serve as co-editor of the CloudCO Migration (WT-408) work.

Congratulations! Excellent work so far by all involved.