Broadband Forum offers ISPs simplified in-home applications, device management

July 26, 2023
Industry group introduces two new documents that arm service providers with greater control and support of connected devices and their software cycles.

By adding new features to its home networking standards, the Broadband Forum enables broadband service providers to manage individual innovative home applications separately without needing complex firmware upgrades.

According to the industry group, the new features it added to User Service Platform 1.3 (USP 1.3) and TR-181 Device 2.16 establish a standardized, interoperable method for deploying and supporting value-added applications in a containerized framework for the first time. The features can be used on all broadband subscriber-connected devices, including Wi-Fi routers, set-top boxes, and smart home hubs.

USP provides a management and control framework that provides always-on communications, streamlining control and management messaging and enabling multi-tenant management. TR-181 is a device data model that encompasses a variety of CPE configuration and monitoring parameters and has been very successful in the remote configuration of cable modems.

“With these upgrades, we are reimagining the potential of broadband services, paving the way for service providers to introduce next-generation applications and services with unparalleled ease, without the need for monolithic firmware upgrades,” said John Blackford, Broadband Forum Chairman and Broadband User Services (BUS) Work Area Co-Director.

Before these upgrades were completed, a device software upgrade would have been needed for services to be installed. Using a container framework, applications can be separated from the device’s operating system and managed within secure software containers. As a result, the service provider can manage the application's lifecycle using the remote device management protocol USP 1.3.

Broadband Forum said these upgraded standards create opportunities for service providers to increase average revenue per user (ARPU) and to enhance subscribers’ broadband experience because they can move beyond simply delivering fast speeds and quickly and securely deploy new services on subscribers’ equipment with built-in application intelligence.

The updates also allow management of the software lifecycle of these applications, further streamlining the process for service providers to offer new and differentiated value-added services, including Wi-Fi management, cybersecurity, gaming, remote working, smart home, energy management, and other services.

Broadband Forum will display USP capabilities during its inaugural USP Summit, which will be taking place on September 11-15, 2023, at the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory in Durham, New Hampshire. The Summit will include a Plugfest, with members evaluating the interoperability of devices and services in a controlled, peer-reviewed environment, and a unique roundtable discussion with service providers about the state of USP deployments, successes, and lessons learned.