By Sonya Goodanetz on 20/05/20 11:57 AM
FAQ What’s driving industry interest in USP?
The connected world is now much bigger in scope and scale, and service providers are feeling added pressure to deliver a seamless, quality user experience to subscribers and tap into new business opportunities to drive revenue.
With the advent of smart home technology, operators need a way to control the connected home business model. This requires a new management platform which offers remote visibility and management of gateways, CPEs, and connected devices, regardless of device type or network access technology. Enter User Services Platform (USP), the focus of this FAQ.
What is User Services Platform (USP)?
User Services Platform (USP) is the revolutionary standard that builds on the Broadband Forum’s TR-069 specification. In January 2018, the Broadband Forum Connected Home Council ratified the USP 1.0 standard (TR-369), and a 1.1 amendment to the USP specification occurred in Fall 2019.
USP provides the standards-based platform for next-generation operator services such as managed Wi-Fi, third-party applications, wireless meshes, smart-home automation, IoT, and customer self-care. USP TR-369 service enablement builds on the widely deployed TR-069, along with critical new functionality including:
• Real-time monitoring, telemetry, and bulk statistics collections for big data processing, AI, and machine learning;
• Enhanced service provisioning, authentication, configuration of residential and SMB device lifecycle management;
• Upgradeability—firmware and security patches;
• Virtualization—“dockerized” containers for device management and lifecycle management of third-party applications;
• TLS connections improving security;
• Wi-Fi Alliance Certified Data Elements with 130+ KPIs;
• Device:2 data model (TR-181) unifying disparate IoT and vendor proprietary protocols, and backwards compatibility with TR-069;
• Device proxy (translation) between non-USP IoT protocols such as ZigBee, Zwave, and Bluetooth.
How does USP relate to TR-069?
USP represents a natural evolution of CWMP (CPE WAN Management Protocol), a sort of “TR-069 2.0” intended to be faster, lighter weight, and more secure. USP will be less ‘noisy’ than TR-069 in terms of message exchange, and more efficient in establishing a session between a device and a controller. USP’s approach of service elements and controllers results in a simpler, lighter message set reducing complexity and increasing performance, all while maintaining backwards compatibility with TR-069.
The adoption of USP is also driven by the improvements it offers over TR-069, which include:
• Multiple management server support
• Use case driven message transfer protocols
• Efficient data encoding
• Always-on communication
• Application layer security
• Distributed data model processing which is crucial for big data and IoT applications
What are the use cases driving USP?
• Managed Wi-Fi – Commercial and standards-based WiFi optimization like wireless mesh, improving the home and small business network experience
• IoT device onboarding and lifecycle management – Service provider control of IoT devices to offer services such as smart home automation
• Mass telemetry – Deliver personalized services using real-time deep edge intelligence and improving customer care applications
• Virtualized third-party applications – Evolve from firmware-based third-party software on a gateway or CPE to containerized applications which can be rapidly deployed
Is TR-369 widely used?
Not yet. Commercial availability of next-generation TR-369 capable devices from hardware vendors is still in its early stages. However, service providers are looking to stay ahead of the curve, so there is active interest in TR-369 from telecom operators.
TR-069 devices will remain in operator networks for several years as there are over 1 billion TR-069 installations globally as of 2018 (source: Broadband Forum). For this reason, a unified device management solution that supports both TR-369 and TR-069 capable devices is recommended.
What devices use TR-369?
TR-369 capable devices vary per network equipment vendor, but recent production deployment examples span 5G fixed wireless CPEs and STBs. DOCSIS enabled gateways and PON network equipment are in development, and assume future DSL modem, IP phone, and VoIP device support for TR-369.
Why should I use TR-369 or TR-069?
There are many benefits associated with using TR-369 or TR-069 to provision and manage end-user devices. In addition to using an industry standard approach for device integration, TR-369, TR-069, and their extensions allow you to:
• Enable remote provisioning of CPE;
• Better manage broadband networks with increased visibility and control of CPE;
• Collect data for analytics on network usage and activity, home or business network characteristics, and service utilization;
• Deliver new managed data services such as Wi-Fi, content filtering and other parental controls, online backup, and home surveillance;
• Offer subscribers a degree of self-service through web portals and mobile apps;
• Expand service offerings and manage the connected home and IoT offerings;
• Improve your customer service with improved diagnostics, monitoring, and firmware management;
• Reduce the number of technical support calls from subscribers, issue escalations to senior network operations personnel, and field technician truck rolls;
• Remove the burden of subscriber manual CPE configuration;
• Roll-out services with an automated deployment process.
Can I use TR-369 with DOCSIS or other protocols?
Yes. Consider the scenario of both gateway and DOCSIS cable modem residing in the same device. The gateway can be managed by a different OSS system using TR-369 or TR-069, and the cable modem is managed by another system using DOCSIS or SNMP.
I don’t use an ACS today. Can I use USP instead?
Yes. USP supports backwards compatibility with the TR-181 data model, so you can deploy the User Services Platform to support TR-069 devices if you don’t have an Auto Configuration Server (ACS) today.
I have an ACS deployed. Where does USP fit in?
ACS and USP can run alongside each other, with USP managing the TR-369 devices, and ACS managing TR-069 and SNMP devices. This hybrid architecture approach eases the operator transition over the next few years. Although, it’s vital to remember that only one system can manage a TR-069 device at a single time.
Can I use TR-369 retrieved device data to augment digital channels?
Yes. You can further extend digital channels by supplementing your customer care solutions with TR-369 USP and/or TR-069 ACS retrieved device data, which previously was a key integration challenge for internal development teams. Now, you can rapidly deliver subscriber self-service functions and equip field technicians with operational tools, all while using your existing BSS assets such as existing self-care portals and mobile apps.
Where can I learn more?
To learn more about the next-generation device management and data collection standard, and get perspectives from global service providers on the business value that User Services Platform could deliver, visit Incognito’s USP Insights page.