Tuesday, February 5, 2008

TR-069 technology - Thoughts

TR-069 specification from DSL forum is more like SNMP, at least conceptually.

TR-069 uses SOAP RPC over HTTP as transport mechanism. Data security is achieved by SSL. XML format is used to send and get configuration parameters. Usage of standard protocols for transport, security and message formats makes it simple and there by possibility of greater adoption.

TR-069 has two components - Device agent and Configuration Server. Devices with Device agent resides in customer premises and Configuration server resides in Managed Service Provider location. Service provider configures the devices at central location. Device agents, periodically or upon notification, connects to central server and initiates the process of getting latest configuration. Device agent is similar to SNMP agent and Configuration Server is similar to SNMP Manager.

Like MIBs in SNMP world, there are data models and profiles. Data models are defined for each type of device and its functionality. TR-098 specification details out the data models and profiles needed for CPE gateway devices. TR-104 defines data model for VOIP terminal adapters. Data models are also exist for IP-TV, WiMAX etc.. Visit www.dslforum.org for more details.

In my view, central management has lot of potential. It provides revenue opportunity for service providers and also avoids truck rolls to customer locations for many common problems. SPs can configure and diagnose problems remotely.

Success of TR-069 based central management depends on how well data models are defined. First version of TR-98 data model is disappointing. As I understand work is going on in DSLForum to revamp TR-098 model and that is good news. When data models are not well defined or not complete, there would be tendency to create proprietary extensions (Vendor extensions) by CPE vendors. It creates interoperability problems if configuration server does not understand these extensions. It makes the configuration activity complex for service providers to support devices from multiple vendors.

Overall, it is a promising technology and it appears that some providers are adopting this technology. Let us see how it turns out in coming months...


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