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Service Providers

Brocade Next Generation Broadband Reference Architecture

by pmoyer on ‎12-20-2011 02:02 PM (1,209 Views)

I’d like to share our latest service provider solution – The Next Generation Broadband Architecture. This solution focuses on the advantages of active carrier Ethernet technologies; basically replacing the existing Broadband Remote Access Server (BRAS) model, which uses Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) over telephone wires.

As we all know, the growth of triple-play residential traffic has created an unprecedented need for bigger and higher bandwidth connectivity in service provider networks. In the currently deployed Broadband architecture, residential DSL technology presents a primary bandwidth bottleneck. In the next generation Broadband architecture, Fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) and Fiber-to-the-Curb (FTTC) replaces DSL in the Access networks and effectively addresses the higher bandwidth needs. In addition to this technology transformation, new revenue generating services are being deployed to compensate for declining revenue in the current and legacy residential broadband market place.

The growth of global broadband subscribers continues to be “up and to the right”, to borrow a cliché. Broadband subscribers surpassed 500M in 2010 and are expected to double again within the next 5 years or so. More specifically, the growth of IPTV services over broadband networks reached a milestone in 2010, surpassing 50M subscribers. Roughly 10% of global broadband subscribers now have IPTV in their homes.

To deliver a compelling residential broadband end-to-end solution, the next generation broadband architecture will need to incorporate the following key network components – Active Ethernet technology in the access network, Optical Network Termination (ONT) located at the residential home, and L2/L3/MPLS switching and routing solutions throughout the network.

The next generation broadband architecture will also need to provide the following key services –

  1. User Authentication and Policy
  2. Network Resiliency & Quality of Service (QoS)
  3. Bandwidth Management
  4. A Mobile / Business Service Network Overlay
  5. IPv6 Transition
  6. Simplified Management

The architecture must deliver these key services while maintaining a low Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

This reference architecture for providing advanced triple-play services to residential broadband subscribers eliminates the need for the DSLAM, BRAS, and PON devices that exist in today’s DSL broadband network. The active Ethernet broadband architecture also eliminates the need for any type of PPPoE session or client software. This next generation broadband architecture provides higher bandwidth with advanced QoS capabilities, while reducing CAPEX and OPEX for the service provider. The reference architecture is shown here.


Figure 1: Next Generation Broadband Reference Architecture

As shown in the diagram, the recently launched Brocade NetIron 6910 Ethernet Access switch connects the home domain to the broadband providers’ network and central office (CO), using 1GB Ethernet uplinks. Enabling the deployment of active Ethernet technology closer to the home or curb requires that the active Ethernet devices be environmentally hardened, and the NetIron 6910 meets this need. The providers CO can contain one or more Brocade CES Carrier Ethernet Switches for connectivity to a local 10GB access ring network. Depending on the required interface density, Brocade’s NetIron MLX-4 or MLX-8 High Performance Multi-Service routers may also be deployed on the local 10GB access ring. These products support 100GbE interfaces for future investment protection. The providers’ aggregation network would be based on IP/MPLS technologies, as would the providers’ core network. Depending on the required nx10GB interface density, multiple Brocade NetIron MLX-16 or MLX-32 High Performance Multiservice routers may be connected in the aggregation and core network.

This reference architecture has been tested and validated in Brocade’s Solutions Center; which provides a showcase for real-world solutions in which Brocade products are key components. The Solutions Center is staffed with IP and MPLS network experts who perform in-depth validation and interoperability testing on Brocade and Partner solutions. While a majority of the testbed infrastructure for this reference architecture uses Brocade equipment, there are components in this solution that are provided by Brocade Partners.  The successful testing and validation ensures that the solution is ready to be deployed and all partner equipment and service components are proven to be interoperable. Details of the Solutions Center testing and results are available for customers to review and to use as their guide while deploying this solution in their network infrastructure. This “blueprint” is available as a Deployment Guide from the Brocade Solutions Center.

Please go to for additional information on this latest service provider solution. Your comments and/or questions are also encouraged in this forum!

Thanks, and have a great holiday season!