Building networks that support users' communication needs

Fulfilling the promise of unlimited bandwidth

The way we communicate changes as technology evolves. Today's consumers expect communications services to be easily accessible and available everywhere, on whatever devices they are using. Technically, this means networks must converge.

ETSI provides a comprehensive set of standards for access network technologies, from Digital Subscriber Line technologies (xDSL), fibre and cable, through to the latest developments with Internet Protocol (IP) networking technology and virtualization.

ETSI groups in the Networks cluster:

  • ARF (Augmented Reality Framework)
  • ATTM (Access, Terminals, Transmission and Multiplexing)
  • CABLE (Integrated broadband cable telecommunication networks)
  • ENI (Experiential Networked Intelligence)
  • IP6 (IPv6 Integration)
  • MEC (Multi-access Edge Computing)
  • NFV (Network Functions Virtualisation)
  • NGP (Next Generation Protocols)
  • NTECH (Network Technologies)
  • OSM (Open Source MANO)
  • ZSM (Zero touch Network & Service Management)
  • 3GPP, the Third Generation Partnership Project, is another contributor to the cluster. It is a collaboration between standards organizations worldwide who develop specifications for advanced mobile communications technologies.

Groups in the Networks cluster also co-operate with various fora, consortia and organizations including GeSI, ITU-T, GSMA, OGF, CENELEC, BBF, IEC, IETF, ECMA International, ONF, TM Forum.

New demands are driving network developments: the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine communications, the growth of user-generated content, video, the increasing use of mobile internet access, social networking, advanced device capabilities, and the ever-growing numbers of connected devices. Networks need to have the capability to manage complexity, they need to be open to new applications and external service providers, and need to scale for ubiquitous connectivity. Networks then face the challenge to keep their operational costs at a reasonable level.

Our Network Technologies committee (TC NTECH) is standardizing current and future network technologies and their application to managed networks.

The vision of our Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) Industry Specification Group (ISG) is of an open ecosystem enabling rapid service innovation. With NFV, standard IT virtualization technology is adapted to consolidate many network equipment types onto industry-standard high-volume servers, switches and storage. This involves implementing network functions in software which can run on a range of industry-standard server hardware. This software can then be moved to, or introduced in, various locations in the network as required.

The use of NFV simplifies the roll-out of network services, reduces deployment and operational costs, facilitates network management automation and encourages innovation. The technology is being adopted increasingly for network planning, deployment and evolution and has become an essential element of modern network design. NFV promises to deliver significant benefits to service users and providers alike, especially in the area of emerging 5G networks.

With a membership now of some 300 organizations, the goal of our Industry Specification Group (ISG) on NFV is to create strong, sustainable specifications that are flexible enough to accommodate and adjust to both current demands and emerging requirements that may as yet be unknown. These specifications will enable network functions to be deployed dynamically and on-demand, making organizations more agile in addressing customer needs and the new challenges facing network technologies.

Our Open Source MANO group (ETSI OSM) is developing a software reference implementation (code) for the ETSI NFV MANO, according to accepted Open Source working procedures and using a software development platform which we host and manage. This will capitalize on the synergies between the worlds of Open Source and standardization in our work on NFV. Two of the key components of the ETSI NFV architectural framework are the NFV Orchestrator and the Virtualized Network Function Manager, known collectively as the NFV Management and Orchestration, or MANO.

ETSI OSM is a community-driven effort that aims to offer a production-quality Open Source MANO stack that meets the requirements of commercial NFV networks. Our method of working means that we can release regular versions of the code approximately every six months.

The Transition to IPv6

Upgrading the Internet with the provision of additional public IP addresses is essential to maintain growth and allow new entrants to join. IPv6 was developed as a replacement for IPv4. It solves the problem of IPv4 address exhaustion, provides enhanced features and enables new Internet services in need of end-to-end connectivity and security.

Our ISG on IPv6 Integration (ISG IP6) is addressing the transition from IPv4 to IPv6, bringing together stakeholders from all over the world to work on pre-standardization in a neutral environment, defining requirements and use cases, outlining best practices, gathering support and creating awareness of the impact of IPv6.

Next Generation Protocols

The TCP/IP protocol suite can no longer provide the scale, security, mobility and ease of deployment required for the connected society of the 21st century. Developments in the technology of local access networks (such as LTE™-A, G.Fast, DOCSIS 3.1 and 5G) will not deliver their full potential unless, in parallel, communications and networking protocols evolve to support these new capabilities.

Our ISG on Next Generation Protocols (ISG NGP) is addressing the future requirements for Internet Protocols, undertaking an analysis of relevant technologies, architectures and protocols under research, together with an assessment of their maturity and practicality for implementation circa 2020. Our findings will be provided to other Internet and telecommunications Standards Developing Organizations (SDOs) as input to stimulate standardization work.

Network Access specifications are the responsibility of our Access, Terminals, Transmission and Multiplexing committee (TC ATTM).

Our Integrated Broadband Cable Telecommunication Networks committee (TC CABLE) addresses the evolution and extension of broadband cable network capabilities.

Experiential Networked Intelligence

The use of Artificial Intelligence techniques in the network management system could help solve some of the problems of future network deployment and operation. We have therefore set up a new ISG on Experiential Networked Intelligence (ISG ENI) to develop standards for a Cognitive Network Management system. Our aim is to introduce a metric for the optimization and adjustment of the operator experience over time by taking advantage of machine learning and reasoning.

We will employ the 'monitor-analyze-plan-execute' control model which enables the system to adjust the offered services based on changes in user needs, environmental conditions and business goals. The policy modelling will encompass open intelligent functionality for network configuration and management. We will provide inputs and objectives to support the industry's progress in intelligent policy-based management.

The introduction of technologies such as SDN, NFV and network slicing means that networks are becoming more flexible and powerful. These technologies transfer much of the complexity in a network from hardware to software, from the network itself to its management and operation. ENI will make the deployment of SDN and NFV more intelligent and efficient and will assist the management and orchestration of the network.

Our Industry Specification Group Zero touch network and Service Management (ISG ZSM) defines a new, future-proof, horizontal and vertical end-to-end operable framework enabling agile, efficient and qualitative management and automation of emerging and future networks and services.

The goal is to have all operational processes and tasks (e.g. delivery, deployment, configuration, assurance, and optimization) executed automatically, ideally with 100% automation. ISG ZSM will initially focus on the 5G end-to-end network and service management (e.g. network slicing management) and will extend to the management for future network generations.