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What is TR-369 USP and What Value Does It Offer?

TR-369 or USP (User Services Platform) is a standardized protocol for managing, monitoring, upgrading, and controlling connected devices. Recently published by Broadband Forum, it allows the service provider to:

  • Perform lifecycle management of consumer connected devices
  • Enable IoT and consumer electronics upgradability for critical security patches
  • Bootstrap and configure newly installed or purchased devices and virtual services
  • Let customer support monitor and troubleshoot connected devices, services, and home network links
  • Easily map the home network to control service quality and monitor threats
  • Securely control IoT, Smart Home, and smart networking functions locally or from the Cloud
  • Enable multi-tenant management and control

Broadband Forum views TR-369 USP as a logical extension of the widely accepted TR-069 protocol. It was designed to respond to the rapidly growing needs of the connected world. User Services Platform will co-exist with TR-69 and offer an easy migration path for those who want to make the switch. It is designed to re-use the Device:2 data model and associated Service data models produced for CWMP.

“As an evolution of the popular TR-069 standard, USP makes use of the same data models, but instead of simply having a single Auto Configuration Server, there are now many endpoints that control not only the devices but also individual executables on each one,” said Barbara Stark, of AT&T, USP Project Lead at Broadband Forum. “This means deployments with IoT devices, smart Wi-Fi, set-top boxes, and smart gateways can be controlled by anyone in the household, while permission levels for service providers can be created to allow any necessary updates or troubleshooting of the network and devices connected to it. Ultimately, we designed USP to be flexible, scalable, and secure.”

What are the major features of USP?

The User Services Protocol is designed with four major features in mind:

  1. Flexibility – USP is applicable to many different use cases or deployment scenarios, and able to be implemented by new and varied kinds of devices.
  2. Scaling – USP is able to scale to a very large number of managed devices and connections.
  3. Standardization and ease of migration – USP meets the challenges of connected device management with an interoperable, non-proprietary standard, that easily evolves from existing TR-069 deployments.
  4. Security – USP is designed with application-layer security, authentication, integrity, and privacy from the ground up.

Jason Walls, Co-Director of the Broadband User Services of QA Cafe, shared his thoughts about USP in his interview to Forum in Focus. According to him, up until now, there hasn’t been a standardized way to deploy and manage all types of network-aware devices beyond a simple CPE, like a home router. Broadband Forum wanted to take another look at TR-069 and see how it can become more applicable to new types of devices. In case of STB management, previously one could use TR-069 for managing STBs but it wasn’t specifically designed for that. With the new USP, STBs can be easily managed and monitored. Another example of USP use-case – WiFi management. It is recommended to have a separate system that controls WiFi, analyses usage trends and ensures users’ QoE. With the new USP, one can have a separate system just for that, without putting extra load on the main ACS.

With the TR-369 USP, Broadband Forum is aiming to address the IoT and Smart Home markets. TR-069 is being transformed into a protocol, suitable for remote management of any network devices (including Smart Home and IoT devices). The new device to the ACS connection is said to be faster and lighter and the new platform is backward compatible with the Device:2 TR-069 data model. In the past, when writing TR-069 protocol, Broadband Forum has described all the of network interfaces. Over the years the protocol was extended to support additional features and device types and auto-configuration servers (ACS) became widely accepted by carriers and service providers. With the compatibility to Device:2 data model, Broadband Forum wanted to provide an easy path of migration for those already utilizing CPE wan management protocol for remote CPE management.

Jason Walls says that USP in IoT and 5G environment is more significant than TR-069 is for the broadband environment. With 5G the number of network-aware devices will grow dramatically and there will be a great need to manage them all. The version 1.0 of Broadband TR-369 USP was recently released and, according to Jason Walls, the plug-fests are going to be scheduled soon.

Friendly Technologies newly launched version 6 enables full support of TR-369 USP features.