Major enhancements have been made for the advancement of next-generation applications, network resilience and support of converged services for residential customers thanks to Broadband Forum’s latest 5G work that is integrating wireless and wireline networks.

Broadband Forum’s Phase 18.1 specifications, building on 3GPP’s Release 18, promise to extend the set of common value-adding capabilities, enabling operators to deliver customized quality of service and more freedom to smoothly migrate to using a single converged 5G Core with a multi-vendor broadband network.

The latest work drives greater value and better quality of experience to the customer and allows operators to consolidate their IT systems for more efficient operations and lowers their total cost of ownership.

“By defining these functional improvements and capabilities for multi-vendor 5G broadband networks, BBF’s work addresses the needs of both fixed and mobile operators.” said Manuel Paul, Deutsche Telekom and Broadband Forum Wireless-Wireline Convergence (WWC) Work Area co-director. “They can combine offerings and provide a uniform experience to subscribers irrespective of the access in use, supported by a common control plane and streamlined back office.”

Paul continued, “As standards mature, the industry has the foundations available for mass deployments in the residential and enterprise markets to start.”

The Broadband Forum’s WWC Work Area is developing five new specifications as part of its Phase 18.1 umbrella of 5G work. Key use cases include business services support, hybrid access, network data analytics and support for devices behind a 5G Residential Gateway (5G-RG). Different subscriber groups such as home workers or gamers can also be prioritized with greater bandwidth on-demand thanks to network slicing, part of the key enhancements from this latest phase of work.

Documents including WT-456 Issue 3 (Access Gateway Function Functional Requirements), WT-458 Issue 2 (CUPS for 5G WWC) and WT-470 Issue 3 (5G WWC Architecture), as well as related extensions of CPE device requirements and device data models, are set to expand the deployment options for operators.

“Our Phase 18.1 work is driven by industry demand and the priorities of operators, as we focus on providing them with increased flexibility, revenue potential, and deployment options,” said Christele Bouchat, Nokia and Broadband Forum WWC Work Area co-director. “By working in close alignment with 3GPP, we are ensuring synergy for the broadband industry. By leveraging convergence, operators can cost-effectively deliver broadband in the home and office.”

The previous phase of work, included control-user plane separation (CUPS) for multi-vendor support (TR-458) and specified the combined AGF-5G-user plane (Broadband-UPF), allowing operators to flexibly and efficiently use the broadband user plane with the 5G control plane cost-effectively. Broadband Forum’s technical reports TR-493 and TR-494 have been published, converging residential voice support onto today’s 5G networks.