Fixed broadband access network disaggregation: State of play

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Fixed operators see network disaggregation as a way to reduce deployment and operational costs, remove vendor lock-in, and combine residential, business and other types of access into a single infrastructure. This report examines progress and learnings from early movers.


Format: PDF filePages: 57 pagesAuthor: Dean BubleyPublication Date: January 2024

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
    • Disaggregation and abstraction: Towards open broadband access
    • Decoupling and recombining of network elements, rather than softwarisation of network functions
    • Disaggregation is driven by imperatives of cost, scale and converged service management
    • Disaggregation is mainly led by Tier 1 operators
    • Pathways for fixed broadband access disaggregation
    • Recommendations
    • Next steps
  • Introduction
    • Fixed network disaggregation vs. telco cloud
    • Telco cloud is less meaningful for fixed than for mobile
  • Fixed disaggregation encompasses a wide range of technologies and service providers
    • Where is disaggregation taking place in fixed broadband?
    • Disaggregation priorities differ between fixed broadband providers
    • Fixed disaggregation is a response to four key challenges for fixed broadband operators
    • Many parts of the broadband access network are candidates for disaggregation
  • Deep dive I: Disaggregated domains and network functions
    • Overview of fixed network architectural elements impacted by disaggregation and openness
    • Domains impacted by disaggregation and openness
    • Other disaggregation domains
  • Deep dive II: Deployment and vendor landscape
    • Deployments and trials of disaggregated broadband access
    • Vendor landscape
  • Conclusion: Fixing the network as an engine of growth
  • Appendix
  • Index

Table of Figures

  • Figure 1: Focus areas of this report
  • Figure 2: Telco cloud pathways vary significantly in fixed vs. mobile
  • Figure 3: Broadband access encompasses the “last-mile” plus metro connectivity
  • Figure 4: Type of disaggregation and priority level by service provider category
  • Figure 5: Benefits of hardware and software disaggregation for broadband access
  • Figure 6: Key components of broadband access networks
  • Figure 7: Optical access disaggregation in context
  • Figure 8: OLT hardware disaggregation
  • Figure 9: OLT disaggregation using VOLTHA
  • Figure 10: ONF SEBA/VOLTHA reference design
  • Figure 11: IP edge disaggregation in context
  • Figure 12: Leaf and spine switches
  • Figure 13: Whitebox IP networking use cases
  • Figure 14: BNG roles in a network
  • Figure 15: BBF and TIP disaggregated/open BNG models
  • Figure 16: From chassis-based routers to disaggregated components
  • Figure 17: BBF’s CloudCO vision
  • Figure 18: Selected operator deployments/trials of disaggregated broadband access
  • Figure 19: Disaggregation does not always mean fully open
  • Figure 20: The four telco cloud pathways


Technologies and industry terms referenced include: 5G, A3, AT&T, backhaul, BBF, BNGs, broadcom, BSS, BT, Ciena, Deutsche Telekom, FTTB, FTTH, fttx, FWA, Huawei, Hyperscalers, Intel, Juniper, Marvell, MNOs, nfv, Nokia, ODMs, OLTs, ONTs, ONUs, open RAN, OSS, PON, SD-WAN, SEBA, Telefonica, TIP, Vodafone, VOLTHA, vOMCI