By Rich Nesin, HomePNA general manager and resident philosopher.
If you use the Internet, and who reading this blog doesn’t, then you are using both the core and access networks (and you may even be using a home network). Five years ago it was two networks now it’s three -- home networks have gained respect in the telecommunications world. The core is a very high speed mostly fiber central communication network that carries data from access provider to access provider. The access network connects users to the core network and the home network (my favorite!) connects devices in the home to the access network.
All of these networks are based on accessible practices and technologies of some kind; standards from standards groups such as the ITU or specifications and recommendations from industry groups such as the Broadband Forum and the IP/MPLS Forum. Industry groups often offer certification testing to insure that products perform correctly (which is why, for example, it's so important to only use HomePNA products that have passed HomePNA certification testing, DSL modems that have passed Broadband Forum testing, etc.).
So where is this blog going? If you're involved in telecommunications you probably heard that the Broadband Forum merged with the IP/MPLS Forum. If you haven’t heard, this is a good thing. There are a lot of industry and standards groups and they develop a lot of documents. Sometimes different groups will develop their own practices for the same application. A lot of effort goes into developing liaisons between the groups so they can share information freely. Sometimes the collaborations work and sometimes they don’t.
In this case there was a lot of interest and membership overlap between the IP/MPLS Forum and the much larger Broadband Forum. The standards world is a small one and you tend to see the same people attending meetings for different groups so merging them makes a lot of sense. Why it’s a good thing …. well that’s another story.