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Trinity patent declared as part of Broadband Forum protocols.

A major funding investment by the Irish funding agency SFI, via the CONNECT Research Centre hosted in TCD, has resulted in intellectual property generated by an RPO, becoming pivotal to next generation broadband networks. A Trinity patent has been declared as a standard-essential patent (SEP). That is a patent that claims an invention that must be used to comply with a technical standard.

The Broadband Forum is the communications industry’s leading organization focused on accelerating broadband innovation, standards, and ecosystem development.  It is a non-profit industry organization composed of the industry’s leading broadband operators, vendors, and thought leaders. As an example of their work Forum’s flagship TR-069 CPE WAN Management Protocol has nearly 1 billion installations worldwide.  Broadband Forum working groups collaborate to  develop multi-service broadband packet networking specifications addressing architecture, device and service management, software data models, interoperability and certification in the broadband market.

The forum has over 150 members including all the major global network operators including Vodafone, Telefonica and AT&T as well as vendors including Ericsson, Nokia and Cisco. Interestingly however as well as Trinity only one other university is a member, namely the University of New Hampshire.  Trinity’s involvement has been solely due to the work of Prof Marco Ruffini , in the School of Computer Science and SFI Principal Investigator as part of the CONNECT Centre for future networks hosted in TCD.   Marco’s main research is in the area of 5G optical networks, where he carries out pioneering work on the convergence of fixed-mobile and access-metro networks, and on the virtualisation of next generation networks. It is his work in the latter area, that has piqued the interest of the BroadBand forum. So much so that some of Marco’s key intellectual property has been declared as part of the TR-402 protocol “A Functional Model for PON (Passive Optical Network)  Abstraction Interface”.

 In a little more technical  detail, this IP  defines  a new system architecture, based  software defined network technologies as  required by operators. This is accomplished by disaggregating PON functions into functional modules with open interfaces. The BBF's new PON Abstraction Interface for Time-Critical Applications project,  develops the architecture further by specifying a PON abstraction interface for time-critical processing functions, such as Dynamic Bandwidth Assignment (DBA).  This ground breaking concept has been encapsulated in a patent filed by Trinity entitled “System and Method for Dynamic Bandwidth Assignment (DBA) Virtualization in a Multi-Tenant Passive Optical Network” (ref: PCT/EP2018/056767).

This technical protocol as defined by the forum is licensed to all the members but as TCD has declared the patent as being required  for the standard, then those members that implement the standard require a licence from TCD. Such a patent patent is dubbed  a “Standard Essential Patent” or SEP.

The members of the broadband forum are shown below:

John Whelan Feb 2019