USP Part 1: What is USP and What Does it Mean for Device Management?

Welcome to Incognito Software Systems Inc's USP Blog Series! In part 1 we’ll cover what USP is and the drivers behind this latest standard.

Stay tuned for blog parts 2-7 on USP use cases addressing:

• Managed Wi-Fi

Application-enabled smart gateways

• Multi-vendor gateway support

• Big-data analytics

• IoT Proxy and multi-AP mesh networking

What is USP?

USP (User Services Platform) is an industry-standard protocol developed by Broadband Forum to manage the lifecycle of TR-369 compliant devices.

How does TR-069 relate to USP?

TR-069 is the precursor standards-based protocol from Broadband Forum. USP represents the next generation of TR-069 and leverages over 10 years of global deployments spanning over 1 billion devices.

What are the key features of USP?

• Multiple vendor support within a single deployment

• Support for orders of magnitude more devices and connections than TR-069

• Real-time configuration management

• Bulk data telemetry enabling machine learning

• Application virtualization providing new offerings to be monetized by operators

• Backward compatibility with TR-069 via the Device:2 data model

• Application layer security, authentication, and privacy

Why is USP required?

Device provisioning has changed significantly since TR-069 was first developed for gateway routers in 2002. New functionality has been added to TR-069 since its initial launch to now support devices such as fiber ONTs, STB (Set-Top Boxes), VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol), fixed-LTE, DSL, and Wi-Fi.

Emerging use case applications, virtualization technologies, and the proliferation of devices with the rise of IoT (Internet of Things) have driven the evolution of TR-069.

Will operators be able to run TR-069 and USP devices together?

Yes – due to the backward compatibility support designed within USP, both TR-069 and USP devices will be able to co-exist within the same deployment.

What is an agent?

A USP agent runs on a client CPE device and publishes to USP Controller Service Elements represented within its data model. The agent runs on CPE hardware directly or virtualized within a CPE container environment powered by device management software.

What is a controller?

A USP controller manages a set of service elements represented in a USP agent’s data model. A USP controller database contains all agents within a deployment, capturing states and capabilities, and helps instantiate use cases changes (these will be explored in subsequent blog posts).

How can multiple vendors be deployed in USP?

When a new vendor is deployed within USP, the vendor access can be constrained to specific areas of a USP agent (e.g. vendor 1 to manage Wi-Fi and vendor 2 to manage VoIP).

What are the performance benefits of USP?

USP implements always-on communication which significantly reduces the number of messages sent across a network compared to TR-069. Binary data encoding using protocol buffers and relative path usage significantly decreases the size of messages that are sent across the network, compared to sending XML documents over HTTP/HTTPS in TR-069, which increased the message size.

What are examples of USP virtualized applications?

Within the connected home, there are several use cases for virtualized application deployment which is explored further in part 3 of our USP blog series:

• Security Suite: Run antivirus scans and checking for phishing from suspicious URL links

• Parental Control: Allow a parent to limit a child's device internet access to specific hours (e.g. 8:00 AM - 9:00 PM)

• Wi-Fi Optimization: Gather in-home Wi-Fi network data to detect connectivity issues and automatically optimize for specific traffic, such as gaming

• Home Protection: Home systems monitoring to alert of any issues (e.g. smoke/CO2, water leakage, and intruder detection)

Summary and What’s Next

USP (TR-369) is the evolution of the TR-069 standard, providing superior network performance, security, virtualized applications, and device scaling in multi-vendor, IoT-ready connected home environments.

Read part 2 of our USP blog series which explores the use case of managed Wi-Fi.

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