What is RDK-B? We explain it simply

RDK-B stands for "Reference Design Kit-Broadband". This is an open source initiative of network providers, system integrators and device manufacturers. It aims to standardize functions of routers, Wi-Fi amplifiers and all related devices via a worldwide community of software developers. This will enable a wide variety of providers to efficiently provide and use basic services for home networks.

The initiative is developing a system with software modules. In other words, a modular system with software components that fit together. This contains special broadband functions. The advantage is that the kit is accessible to all providers. For example, they can use it to develop ready-made modules for services, such as the mobile backup service for fixed-network customers.

No need to reinvent the wheel

Just as containers in logistics are always the same size, the software components are standardized. In other words, they can be used in a variety of ways. And not every telecommunications provider working on routers has to make everything from scratch. This gives them more capacity to build their own services for the routers or to connect partner services.

Software developers all over the world are working together on this construction kit. The codes are open to everyone − that's open source. The strings come together at the US-based RDK Management, LLC. This is an association of companies that work together as partners in the development of the open software platform.

Give and take

In the U.S., more than 50 million cable customers already benefit from security and innovations in rapid cycles, made possible by the RDK open source community. Until now, this ecosystem has been limited to cable networks. With Deutsche Telekom, a large fiber-optic and DSL provider is now coming into play. The Deutsche Telekom team develops core functions for security and telephony in the community, for example. It also adapts the software for fiber optics and DSL. Everyone shares the securely tested software, including competitors. This saves everyone development time for basic functions and costs. The principle is "give and take".

Of course, Deutsche Telekom continues to build exclusive Magenta services that go beyond these core functions internally. For example, completely individual services, such as help via app with the placement of routers or Wi-Fi amplifiers.

With this new step in software development for routers, Deutsche Telekom is tackling another innovation. It is separating hardware and software and taking more control over the functionality of apps and services. In technical jargon, this separation is called "router disaggregation".

In this way, Deutsche Telekom is making itself less dependent on previous providers who supplied hardware and software as a package.

Just a few of the advantages:

  • Telekom can launch its own software updates without detours via manufacturers.
  • Better use of the cloud − the software is no longer limited to the router, i.e. only to the device, as was previously the case.
  • More real-time-based functions: For example, customer service locates connection errors in fractions of a second, i.e. while a customer is on the phone.
  • New Deutsche Telekom services such as child and youth protection or router security are available more directly.
  • As before, customers can control router services conveniently via Deutsche Telekom's own app. The software development for routers and the app go hand-in-hand.


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