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Active Broadband takes network management up a level

Wed, 08/21/2013 - 12:58pm
Brian Santo

Active Broadband Networks has expanded the capabilities of its service management system to provide common control and active management of broadband services across different types of access networks, including cable, DSL, FTTH and WiFi.

The company’s Dynamic Broadband Service Manager (DBSM) can now operate as a software-defined networking (SDN) controller. The DBSM uses the OpenFlow protocol to dynamically activate services and manage subscriber traffic flows through SDN-enabled network elements at the broadband edge, Active Broadband explained.

OpenFlow structures communication between the control and data planes of SDN-enabled network infrastructure, and allows the DBSM to directly implement service management policies for control of subscriber traffic flows.

In short, the capability can allow network operators to manage their networks to respond more efficiently to traffic demands, and at the same time make it possible to manage services in any number of ways – by application type, by connection speed, by bandwidth consumption, by time of day, or some combination thereof – and charge accordingly.

"The increasing cost and complexity of managing broadband services is a result of the functional constraints of proprietary software embedded in network elements and the performance limitations of existing OSS/BSS solutions," said Adam Dunstan, CEO of Active Broadband. “Moving control plane and performance-critical network functions into SDN software running on high-performance server platforms will transform how broadband services are offered and allow network operators to tailor services to the individual needs of subscribers.”

The DBSM incorporates the IPFIX protocol for rapidly collecting network stream telemetry data on traffic flows and network utilization for real-time service management applications that require timely and accurate information about bandwidth consumption and network conditions, Active Broadband said.

IPFIX is an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) protocol that represents the state of the art in network telemetry data collection. It uses a highly efficient streaming protocol – the Stream Control Transmission Protocol (SCTP) – and specifies a uniform and extensible method for collecting IP flow information from elements in any type of IP network.

The DBSM can manage and control subscriber traffic flows through any SDN-enabled network element that supports OpenFlow and IPFIX.

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