Operator Managed Wi-Fi (OMWi): A Reference Architecture for Broadband Operators

Operator Managed Wi-Fi (OMWi): A Reference Architecture for Broadband Operators

A new Wi-Fi management specification has been published by the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA), defining the reference architecture for residential Wi-Fi. Taking the position that the broadband operator is best placed to deploy, operate and optimize the in-home Wi-Fi networks of their subscribers, this report is the first to define a standard approach that will simplify integration and allow operators to focus on the quality of experience and delivering innovative services.   

This specification comes after months of research by a cross-industry working group members from the WBA, that includes representatives from Wi-Fi solutions providers, technology vendors and leading telcos and broadband operators from around the world.  These experts worked together to establish a neutral evaluation of the different technology standards as well as the various approaches to home network management that have developed over the past years.

The result is a reference architecture that addresses the full end-to-end solution, rather than only disparate elements of it; how a home network should function, what mechanisms are used for data collection or channel management, what protocol to use for communication between the home router and the cloud, what is the minimum feature set relating to mesh formation, remote management, and more.

Providing a complete end-to-end specification will ensure interoperable and reusable solutions, that avoid each broadband operator approaching the same fundamental questions with a patchwork of different standards and technologies in combinations that are specific only to them.

The reference architecture defined in the report combines the best of industry standards, such as the Wi-Fi Alliance’s (WFA) Wi-Fi CERTIFIED EasyMeshTM and Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Data ElementsTM, as well as the TR-369 User Services Platform (USP) and TR-181 Data Model from the Broadband Forum (BBF).

The Wi-Fi Alliance’s CERTIFIED EasyMeshTM is recommended as the standard interface for Wi-Fi data collection, configuration and management, to optimize home Wi-Fi performance. It is important to note that this architecture is equally applicable for home networks with a stand-alone gateway (without extenders) as it is for mesh-based home networks. The specification also recommends using BBF TR-181 as the standard data model and TR-369 (USP) as the standard for remote configuration and management of the gateway and the network.

By leveraging WFA CERTIFIED EasyMeshTM (which already incorporates Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Data ElementsTM), BBF TR-181 and TR-369 standards, the OMWi architecture not only provides operators with the necessary tools for remote configuration of the network parameters, but also with the capacity to deploy new value-added services based on the data supplied by the gateway and/or the home network.

The OMWi architecture enables “reusable” software modules and facilitates interoperability with other deployments and applications. This standardized architecture also allows easy updates to any value-added services as well as those on the cloud, to ensure that all of an operator’s solutions are in sync with the latest developments in Wi-Fi standards.

The OMWi cross-industry collaboration will drive adoption of a standard Wi-Fi platform architecture, freeing up all stakeholders to innovate and ensure the best user experience.  

Airties is honored to be a leading participant in this on-going work, with additional proofs of concept in the pipeline, as the working group continues to develop an effective framework for Wi-Fi management solutions that benefits the entire industry.  To read the new report, visit this link.

This article is authored by:

Sarper Gokturk, PhD,

Senior Head of Research, Airties