DSL Forum Drives Next-Gen Services

DSL Forum's new technical reports specify an IP-centric architecture for next-gen DSL services, enabling voice and video on demand

October 7, 2003

3 Min Read

FREMONT, Calif. -- The DSL Forum's new technical reports (TR-058 and TR-059) specify requirements and network architecture for service providers and equipment manufacturers to deliver next generation digital subscriber line (DSL) services. These new TRs will deliver economic benefits such as improved network utilization and traffic management as well as service flexibility and enhancements for broadband DSL customers, providing the foundation for capabilities such as quality of service (QoS) support; bandwidth on demand; multi-casting and real-time service delivery. These capabilities are critical to deliver the latest content and services, such as pay-per-view video services, television type services or voice calls over DSL.

A key benefit to service providers is the ability to implement QoS over Internet Protocol (IP) network architecture. This opens up a new range and level of service offerings from value-added ASPs and ISPs. Opportunities using DSL can now go far beyond fast data transfer to include multiple voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) channels for voice communications, video conferencing, streaming entertainment video, rapid interaction online gaming and remote access to hosted applications.

"These new TRs represent a milestone in broadband DSL technology development, complementing recent interoperability progress," said Michael Brusca, DSL Forum vice president. "Forum members have developed these approaches to extend current network capabilities so that existing services can co-exist with QoS dependent services that are increasingly required by businesses and broadband DSL-enabled homes."

This is a critical element of success for service providers as this new IP-centric architecture is built on existing infrastructure, and allows for a new variety of service offerings and service providers to co-exist. This layering of options on one infrastructure ultimately means attractive consumer pricing, and innovative product development and bundling.

Gavin Young, chairman of the DSL Forum's technical committee says: "These exciting new services require a more sophisticated broadband network than the best-effort approach of the current first generation DSL networks. Developing the requirements and architecture for the next generation DSL networks has required consensus among many of the world's largest service providers and equipment vendors to define the vision and specify the architecture. As a result of these new TRs, services delivered via DSL become even better."

A central element in TR-059 is a new generation of network Gateway Router, today referred to as a broadband remote access server (B-RAS). The B-RAS will not only allow broadband aggregation and basic subscriber management, but will also facilitate dynamic bandwidth management, billing and QoS on a per-customer basis. TR-059 gives general guidelines for this new class of B-RAS and requires the equipment to fit into existing network architectures, while allowing for interworking with new customer premises equipment (CPE) that supports the traffic management of individual customer sessions, or 'micro flows.' This traffic management employs the traffic types defined in the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) specifications for DiffServ.

Real time media applications such as voice and video require adequate resources along the transport path, and therefore require specific QoS support. Under the new technical report specifications, a variety of QoS flows can be supported for multiple real time applications over a single DSL connection.

"Until now, fast data transfer for web surfing, email and file exchange have been the key reasons why millions of subscribers have chosen to upgrade to broadband DSL from a narrowband Internet connection," says Brusca. "With the implementation of the capabilities specified in TR-059 that build on today's networks, subscriber upgrades to DSL will be even more compelling."

The broadband industry is already gearing up to the new specifications, and users should see the effect of these TRs shortly in a global explosion of new services and online content options. This represents an enormous opportunity for the whole broadband DSL industry, facilitated by these two new technical reports.

Full details of the DSL Forum technical reports TR-058 and TR-059 are available from the Forum's website at www.dslforum.org/aboutdsl/Technical_Reports/TR-058.pdf and www.dslforum.org/aboutdsl/Technical_Reports/TR-059.pdf.

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