What is TR-369 User Services Platform?
At Minim, we are proponents of open standards in the broadband industry because everyone deserves to have their connected devices just work, securely.
So here’s an introduction to TR-369, an open standard that promises to help people and their service providers better manage the explosion of devices in homes and offices.
What is TR-369 User Services Platform?
TR-369 or User Services Platform (USP) is a standardized architecture, protocol, and data model used for managing, monitoring, upgrading, and controlling devices that are connected to a switch, hub, or router.
Essentially, USP provides an intelligent control plane for Customer Premises Equipment (CPE). The project was created by Broadband Forum as an extension to TR-069 and promises the following capabilities to CPE:
- It enables management and monitoring of network interfaces, including: ethernet, WiFi, 5G, ZigBee, IPv4, IPv6, DHCP, tunneling, and SSIDs and MAC layer information.
- It allows for management and monitoring of network services and clients, such as firewall, DNS, QoS, connected hosts and user access.
- It enables application layer connection interfaces (MQTT, XMPP, etc.) and monitoring of those interfaces.
- It facilitates performance measurement and diagnostics, including network mapping using LMAP and TWMAP and testing via ping, packet capture, and more.
- It enables container and application management on the CPE. The USP data model contains operations for installing, monitoring, and managing software modules.
In summary, USP frees Application Service Providers such as Minim and our ISP customers from custom CPE integrations. USP-powered CPE enables us to perform powerful device management and monitoring functions out-of-the-box.
According to Broadband Forum, USP was designed to coexist with TR-069 and provides an easy migration path as the two share the Device:2 data model. In the initial press release, Barbara Stark of AT&T and USP Project Lead at Broadband Forum further describes how USP was designed:
"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 end points that control not only the devices but also individual executables on each one. 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 principal features of TR-369 USP?
USP is designed with the following key features:
USP design is extensible for many use cases, allowing for management of devices beyond the gateway. Use cases include: IoT device management, deployment in brownfield and greenfield environments, and QoE monitoring.
USP includes a set of RESTful messages that allows for asynchronous actions and events.
Versatile message layer
USP separates messages and message transport, allowing management via websockets, mobile control points, and local network devices (CoAP).
USP enables efficient interactions between controller and agent. Requests and responses don’t require build-up and tear-down and uses relative paths reduce message size.
USP provides forgiving responses, and failures can be isolated to individual objects and parameters.
USP grants the ability to define event and event types and enables controllers to subscribe to them with conditions.
USP defines trust mechanisms for data transfer between the agent and controller, as well as role-based access control and optional TLS “session context.”
USP provides an easy migration path from TR-069 as the two share the Device:2 data model.
USP's software module management allows for multiple controllers and multiple applications to simultaneously manage the WiFi, gateway, other devices and/or users on the network.
TR-369 USP specification
Today, TR-369 Issue 1 Ammendment 1 is the latest specification (published in October 2019), and it outlines the following:
- Specification Impact - Energy efficiency, security, privacy
- Architecture - Endpoints and Service elements
- Discovery and Advertisement - Controller and agent information, DHCP, mDNS, DNS
- Message Transfer Protocols (MTPs)
- CoAP Binding - Mapping USP endpoints and records to CoAP URIs and messages
- STOMP Binding - STOMP sessions and mapping endpoints to STOMP destinations
- WebSocket Binding - WebSocket sessions and mapping endpoints to URIs
- MQTT Binding - Connecting endpoints to MQTT server and subscriptions
- Message Encoding
- End to End Message Exchange
- Messages - Requests, Responses, Errors, Object and Subscription management
- Authentication and Authorization - Authentication, RBAC, Certificates
- Annex A - HTTP Bulk Data Collection
- Appendix I - Software Module Management - Lifecycle management
- Appendix II - Firmware Management of Devices with USP Agents
- Appendix III - Device Proxy
- Appendix IX - Proxying - Building Block Functions, Discovery, Connectivity, MTP
- Appendix V - IoT Data Model Theory of Operation - Control and Sensor Objects
TR-369 USP resources
Here are a few resources to help you learn more about USP:
QA Cafe is deeply involved in USP development, offering a USP training series and a CDRouter USP test suite for USP compliance, security, and data model implementation. (See the introductory video below.)
Broadband Forum held a webinar Unleashing a True Connected Home Ecosystem with USP in October. It discussed the latest advancements for USP and specific use cases for enabling revenue generating services. You can request a copy of the webinar recording to learn more.
ARRIS, a Broadband Forum member, contributed Open Broadband - USP Agent (OB-USP-Agent) last year. OB-USP is an open source agent-side reference implementation of USP standard. The project's code can be found here on GitHub.
Minim is excited for further adoption of USP and welcomes OEMs and ISPs to join us and deliver AI-driven managed WiFi and IoT security via USP.