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SP360: Service Provider

By Ross Fujii, CTO of Cisco Network Management Technology Group (NMTG)

Up to this point, I’ve made a strong case for how important visibility into the connected home network is to service providers.  I’ve shown how the culture of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is already taking root, and why it is essential for service providers to meet the needs of consumers and businesses if they want to stay competitive.  The question remains, how will service providers achieve this?

On March 28, 2012, Cisco announced its intent to acquire privately-held ClearAccess, a provider of TR-069-based software to service providers for the provisioning and management of residential and mobile devices.  ClearAccess management and software capabilities will augment Cisco Prime – Cisco’s network management software portfolio – by offering a set of powerful and sophisticated tools for provisioning, monitoring and managing bandwidth usage, parental controls, and diagnostics to connected devices in the home.

TR-069 technology provides a standardized means for describing remote home gateways.  TR-069 can be likened to the DOCSIS standard used by cable companies, and there are many flavors to TR-069, enabling service providers to manage access throughout the connected home network in numerous ways.  TR-135, for example, is used with set-top boxes, and TR-196 supports femtocell access points for offloading cellular service onto the wired network.

Today, devices use different protocols, varying interfaces, and a range of APIs.  To support each new type of device requires new infrastructure.  With TR-069, Cisco will enable service providers to literally contain the explosion of devices within the connected home by providing a standard way to monitor and manage these devices.

The acquisition of ClearAccess reaffirms Cisco’s commitment to service providers to accelerate software architecture advancements that enable lower cost mobility, cloud, managed devices, and video services.  The acquisition is expected to be complete in the fourth quarter of Cisco’s fiscal year 2012.

In my next blog, I’ll wrap up my thoughts on BYOD by describing the vision Cisco has for the next-generation connected home.

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