Broadband Forum Contributing to Home Wi-Fi

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We were privileged to speak with Robin Mersh, CEO of the Broadband Forum for the preparation of our upcoming report “From Managed Home Wi-Fi to Enabling the Secure Smart Home 2018-2023” on home managed Wi-Fi. We provide here a transcript of our conversation. The Broadband Forum is a non-profit industry consortium dedicated to developing broadband network specifications.

Given the broadband experience in the home is very much impacted by Wi-Fi, what initiatives is the Broadband Forum (BBF) taking vis a vis home Wi-Fi?

A few projects are in the works, one of them related to interfaces for data TR69 and USP (user service platform), the latest device and service management platform developed for the next generation services platform designed specifically for IoT smart home, devices, services, and virtualization. We believe platforms should no longer be about device management only, but rather about services.

With regards to home Wi-Fi we are developing a Wi-Fi mesh data model to help manage devices such as Gateways, set top boxes as well as extenders into the operator networks.

How do you shape your roadmap deliverables?

The BBF defines several data models that describe the service elements (objects, parameters, commands, and events) of broadband CPE, consumer electronics, “smart” devices/IoT, and both home and business network equipment, including Wi-Fi deployments. These data models are made to be used with both the

  • CPE WAN Management Protocol, commonly known as TR-069 (currently amendment 6) and
  • User Services Platform (USP), first published as TR-369 in April 2018

The TR69 was developed with the service provider’s perspective in mind. The same applies to our Wi-Fi initiatives and we want to provide the ability to control the Wi-Fi experience to both the service provider and the end-user going one step further.

What some specific initiatives around Wi-Fi? 

For operators to meet the ever-increasing consumer expectations for Wi-Fi, operators must ensure they supply devices that perform according to these expectations.

To address this issue, BBF established new project stream (Wi-Fi In-Premises Project Stream) and new project Study Document (SD-398) to study the use cases, requirements and test methods for In-Premises Wi-Fi testing. From 2016Q3 till now, SD-398 has received more than 20 contributions from operators and vendors, figuring out the gaps that SD-398 needs to fill: to verify Wi-Fi performance in system level within home.

With many efforts, analysis of relevant works from other SDO (Standard Development Organization) has been done, including CableLabs, CTIA, HGI, IEEE, and WFA. Many use cases (5+) and requirements (16+) are settled down. Based on that, SD-398 summarizes the test scenarios according to the requirements from operators and the views from vendors. More than 10 corresponding test cases are developed to address the needs. Currently, all the test cases are focusing on verifying the performance of Wi-Fi device on 802.11n/ac, which is the main deployment technology at the moment. Further evolving of SD-398 is supposed to include more, new technologies (802.11ax or 802.11ad/ay) and new scenarios (enterprise).

Does the BF support Easymesh initiative?

Yes we are and will be announcing some initiatives in the next few weeks.

What is your vision for the connected home?

The term “connected home” is a broad one, applying to the vast array of network connected CPE, consumer electronics, and computing resources that today’s consumers are using at an increasing rate. These connected devices and services need to be managed, monitored, troubleshot, and controlled in an easy to develop and interoperable way. A unified framework for these is attractive if we want to enable providers, developers, and vendors to create value for the end user. The goal should be to create system for developing, deploying, and supporting these services for end users on the platform created by their connectivity and components, that is, to be able to treat the connected user herself as a platform for applications.

Please comment on the working relationship between the BF and other associations such as the WFA, WBA, Cable Labs,

We see a lot of synergies to work with WBA in performance management and making home Wi-Fi network more seamless. We like the idea of applying some of the carrier grade Wi-Fi principles into the home and using some of the WBA ‘s best practices into the agents deployed in the home.

We also work with Cablelabs and used some of the data models developed for TR69 in a number of activities. Generally speaking, we believe initiatives that enable MSO and telcos to work together as a good thing.

More information about the BBF and other association initiatives will be included in our upcoming report “From Managed Home Wi-Fi to Enabling the Secure Smart Home 2018-2023” .

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Mr. Fellah, is a Senior Analyst and founder of Maravedis with 20-year experience in the wireless industry. He authored various landmark reports on Wi-Fi, LTE, 4G and technology trends in various industries including retail, restaurant and hospitality. He is regularly asked to speak at leading wireless and marketing events and to contribute to various influential portals and magazines such as RCR Wireless, 4G 360, Rethink Wireless, The Mobile Network, Telecom Reseller to name a few. He is a Certified Wireless Network Administrator (CWNA) and Certified Wireless Technology Specialist (CWTS).

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