Light Reading
The Controller is a keystone of AT&T's eventual plans to let users design their networks.

AT&T Working on Home-Grown SDN Controller for Later in 2014

Dan Jones
5/16/2014
50%
50%

AT&T is plunging deeper into the world of software-defined networking with plans to develop its own controller for network bandwidth allocation and other services this year.

At an "Innovation Showcase" in New York City Friday, Marian Croak, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) SVP of Domain 2.0 architecture and advanced services development, revealed that the operator is working on a "controller" to manage network functions and services as Ma Bell moves to run its network on "low-cost hardware" with the functionality abstracted into software. (See AT&T Spotlights Early SDN Efforts.)

"We're building this programmable controller now. I think you'll see it later this year," Croak said. It will enable AT&T to better manage and reroute network capacity, amongst other services.

This wouldn't be the first time AT&T pioneered its own SDN developments. The company has been running an early version of SDN, known as intelligent routing service control point, or IRSCP, in its core network for six or seven years now. That technology, which separates the data and control planes and allows for distributed control of routing, is now powering AT&T NetBond, a service that lets enterprises connect to the AT&T cloud via secure links that appear as nodes on their MPLS-based virtual private networks. (See AT&T Spotlights Early SDN Efforts.)

The eventual aim is to let AT&T's customers tailor their networks to their own needs. "As customers of AT&T, you'll be able to design your own network," Croak said. This "user-defined network cloud" needs maximum flexibility in use of network resources.

There is a lot of work to be done, however, between now and AT&T reaching that lofty goal. To that end, AT&T has been refocusing a lot of its research teams on NFV and SDN work, Greg Bond from AT&T Labs told Light Reading at the event.

"The controller doesn't exist yet," Bond told us. He says that AT&T is working on multiple software-defined projects in the labs, as well as with established vendors and startups.

He stresses that AT&T isn't wedded to any particular specification for projects but has employed some for ease of use and so that partners have a frame of reference to work with. For instance, AT&T has used OpenFlow for data center bandwidth balancing.

Bond says that the new controller will pull from work being done across AT&T Labs. "We're working on three levels of orchestration," he says. The operator is using the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) standard as an SDN/NFV template for now.

Bond admits that AT&T is working on a tight schedule to pull together its ambitious software-defined plans. "We're working really hard on this," he says. (See AT&T Reveals Audacious SDN Plans.)

Still, Bond is cheered by the way AT&T has steered its ship resolutely into software waters. "I'm a software guy. So it makes me happy."

AT&T believes its early work in SDN, through the IRSCP and other efforts, gives it an edge in deploying virtualization, according to Chris Rice, vice president, advanced technologies, at AT&T Labs.

"We have seen how SDN can be deployed at scale in a wide-area commercial network," Rice told Light Reading. "We are some of the early pioneers of this stuff, and there are other things we've done that people haven't seen yet."

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

(8)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
5/20/2014 | 6:22:27 AM
Re: The proof is in the paper
At the event, Chris Rice briefly mentioned that AT&T is becoming a bigger user of -- and contributor to -- open-source software. He didn't elucidate further, so take as you will.
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
5/20/2014 | 6:20:18 AM
Re: The proof is in the paper
My guess is that they're not seeing a system they can buy that will do all they want it to do. That seems to generally be the reason that AT&T will generally get involved in dense software development.
t.bogataj
50%
50%
t.bogataj,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/20/2014 | 2:16:50 AM
Re: The proof is in the paper
An early version of SDN? The same you can say for T-MPLS, MPLS-TP, PBT, or PBB-TE: they all excluded the complex control plane from network elements. A nice article, but nothing revolutionary.

T.
sam masud
50%
50%
sam masud,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/19/2014 | 4:49:48 PM
Re: The proof is in the paper
Other than saying we can build one too, is this ATT's way of indicating that it's not overly impressed with the work of the OpenDaylight Project or any other vendor developed controller (e.g. Cisco, Juniper etc.). Don't understand why ATT going down this road...
desiEngineer
50%
50%
desiEngineer,
User Rank: Light Beer
5/19/2014 | 3:46:34 PM
Re: The proof is in the paper
Ha!  What's their motto: Rough consensus and running paper?  I know I'm getting my standards bodies mixed up, but surely ATT isn't in the business of developing SDN controllers, and their objective must be to seed the community with a concrete way forward, not a 7-year-old paper that was written before the days of SDN (and VNFs which, though not necessarily related, are a great enabling environment for SDN).

-desi
Carol Wilson
50%
50%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
5/19/2014 | 1:57:01 PM
Re: The proof is in the paper
I asked that question and was told it kinda already is in that the paper is public and they won an award from DARPA for this work. I don't know that they are making a specific contribution to the ONF, however. 
desiEngineer
50%
50%
desiEngineer,
User Rank: Light Beer
5/19/2014 | 1:20:31 PM
Re: The proof is in the paper
Amazing stuff!!  I've been hearing about IRSCP for some time now.

Routing, QoS, redundancy, policy, DDoS, VPNs (aka overlay/underlay management), looks like BGP can manage it all.  SDN management was staring at us and we didn't realize it.

Will IRSCP be an open source contribution from ATT Labs?

-desi
Carol Wilson
50%
50%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
5/16/2014 | 5:19:02 PM
The proof is in the paper
Here's a link to the paper written by AT&T and UC-San Diego in 2007 on what is essentially an early version of SDN: 

https://www.usenix.org/legacy/events/usenix07/tech/full_papers/verkaik/verkaik_html/index.html
Flash Poll
Wagner’s Ring
Data Centers Drive Telcos Into the Future

8|28|14   |   2:20   |   (2) comments


Data centers are at the heart of key trends driving telecom -- network virtualization, the drive for increased agility, and the need to compete with OTT providers.
LRTV Custom TV
Why SPs Should Consider Cisco's EPN

8|27|14   |   5:40   |   (0) comments


Sultan Dawood from Cisco discusses Cisco's EPN, which enables SPs to build agile and programmable networks delivering new network virtualized services using Cisco's Evolved Services Platform (ESP).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Showcase @ Big Telecom Event 2014

8|26|14   |   2.56   |   (0) comments


SoftCOM is Huawei's framework for telecom business and network transformation. Haofei Liu, Solution Marketing Manager, Carrier Business Group, Huawei, showcases Huawei's SoftCOM architecture in this video.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei @ BTE 2014: Director of Integrated Solutions on SoftCOM & NFV Monetization

8|26|14   |   4.43   |   (0) comments


Libin Dai, Director of Integrated Solutions, Carrier Business Group, discusses Huawei's SoftCOM and NFV monetization. Huawei believes that NFV monetization should be service-driven rather than network-driven, and that operators should have network transformation, service transformation and a compatible and collaborative ecosystem in place in order to deploy NFV.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei @ BTE 2014: Director of US NFV Lab on CloudEdge & the Future of NFV

8|26|14   |   4.06   |   (0) comments


Sean Chen, Director of US NFV Lab at Huawei, discusses Huawei's new approach to NFV in open collaboration. Huawei believes that through Proof of Concept tests, it could help operators learn and communicate with the industry more effectively. Sean believes that successful implementation of NFV should have its values reaching to end users and discusses how Huawei's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Highlights @ Big Telecom Event 2014

8|26|14   |   3.34   |   (0) comments


At the Big Telecom Event in Chicago Huawei showcases its high-level strategy, the SoftCOM architecture, which helps operators reduce the cost of ownership of their network infrastructure and generate additional revenue in the ICT service environment. Huawei showcases over 30 pilot programs from across the globe, focusing on the industry-leading commercial ...
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX – Live from the Show

8|21|14   |   5:58   |   (0) comments


An overview of VeEX Test and Measurement solutions including TX300S multi-service test set with VeExpress cloud-based management system, UX400 universal modular platform supporting 100G testing, and the redesigned RXT modular platform.
LRTV Custom TV
Transitioning CE 2.0 Networks Into the SDN & NFV Era With Telco Systems

8|19|14   |   5:19   |   (0) comments


Telco Systems' Ariel Efrati (CEO) and Moshe Shimon (VP of Product Management) discuss virtualization and how the company's new Open Metro Edge solution utilizes the SDN and NFV concepts to accelerate and orchestrate service delivery through its innovative product portfolio and software applications.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Myths: Is NFV Still Several Years Away?

8|11|14   |   1:13   |   (0) comments


Some say that NFV (network functions virtualization) is still several years away from being implemented on mobile operator networks. This isn't the case. Operators can get started on their paths to NFV now, as this short video from Skyfire shows.
LRTV Custom TV
A New Security Paradigm in SDN/NFV

7|28|14   |   02:54   |   (0) comments


Paul Shaneck, Global Director Network Solutions for Symantec, discusses the evolving virtualized network, explaining how Symantec is leading the security discussion as it relates to SDN and NFV, and helping to ensure the network is protected and compliant.
LRTV Documentaries
Sprint's Network Evolution

7|24|14   |   14:59   |   (0) comments


Sprint's Jay Bluhm gives a keynote speech at the Big Telecom Event (BTE) about Sprint's network and services evolution strategy, including Spark.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE Keynote: The Software-Defined Operator

7|24|14   |   18:43   |   (1) comment


Deutsche Telekom's Axel Clauberg explains the concept of the software-defined operator to the Big Telecom Event (BTE) crowd.
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 23, 2014, Denver, CO
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
A survey conducted by Vasona Networks suggests that 72% of mobile users expect good performance all the time, and they'll blame the network operator when it's not up to par.
Today's Cartoon
Hot Topics
Rogers, Shaw Take Aim at Netflix
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 8/26/2014
Utilities to Pump $11.2B Into Smart Grid – Study
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 8/26/2014
Verizon Launches QR Code Security Solution
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/26/2014
Nokia's Maps Land on Samsung Devices
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 8/29/2014
Verizon to Launch HD VoLTE in 'Coming Weeks'
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 8/26/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed