Fixed Access Network Sharing (FANS)

FANS Overview

The Forum's Fixed Access Network Sharing specification (TR-370) covers the sharing of broadband network infrastructure among service providers while supporting management and control functionality by all stakeholders; thus sharing the cost of gigabit-class broadband rollouts while enabling operators to run their own differentiated operations. 

Acting in a wholesale role, we define an Infrastructure Provider (“InP”) as the organization responsible for maintaining the physical resources of the network and making them available to Virtual Network Operators (“VNOs”) who provide services to their end-user customers.

  • FANS enhances network sharing and wholesale access
  • It provides interfaces that allow diagnostics and status data to be disseminated to VNOs
  • It allows a VNO to request or perform changes in network configuration and control their own virtual network
FANS interfaces enable automated operations spanning InP and VNO domains. This allows VNOs to perform operations with virtual unbundling similar to their operations with physical unbundling. In addition, management data, configuration and control are also shared between InPs and VNOs.

One Physical Network
- Multiple Operators

FANS is a system that enables a single physical network to be shared among multiple operators. The figure below shows how a single network and its equipment is administered by an InP, and a centralized management system controls the physical network resources so that they are logically divided between several VNOs, each of which has their own virtual network slice.

Network sharing, showing network slices in different colors

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Market Impact

FANS benefits, both to InPs and VNOs, include:

  • Multiple companies can share the costs of network upgrades to gigabit-class broadband
  • Automated interfaces lower operational costs relative to manual interfaces, both for the InP and the VNOs
  • FANS enables enhanced service levels, services differentiation, and innovation.
  • The InP can offer FANS as an enhanced service to the VNOs
  • The VNOs can offer enhanced services to the broadband customers, e.g., enterprise
  • Fault correlation across multiple operators’ lines and multi-line optimizations are enabled, enhancing service while lowering operations costs

Enhancing gigabit Broadband viability

The costs of deploying new high-speed Broadband networks are well-known - both upfront investment and resources needed to design and implementon. Multiple parallel networks covering the same areas can be difficult to justify commercially with low take-up rates and very long term RoI. Enabling operators to share their infrastructure can reduce upfront investments and OpEx.

The ITU Commission for Sustainable Growth and the European Commission have recognized that sharing infrastructure can speed broadband rollouts. In some countries, regulatory bodies have already taken into account this consideration and have created rules for sharing existing passive infrastructures.

Management-system-based sharing

The core of management-system-based sharing is the centralized management system. With this sharing technique, a management system performs the network slicing at the management system level and not directly in the equipment itself. The management system supports multi-tenancy, where each VNO is a separate tenant.

Management-System-based Sharing: management plane

Public Resources

  • Fixed Access Network Sharing - Architecture and Nodal Requirements (TR-370)
  • Coming shortly: 2 papers on the business and technical work

Ongoing work

  • Work in development is specifying FANS interfaces, and how FANS works with virtualized infrastructure
  • Further details aravalible on the BBF Members collaborative site (login required)