& cplSiteName &

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        ADD A COMMENT
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
100%
0%
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
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
From The Founder
Download our complete guide to de-risking NFV deployment in 2016, including:
  • An eight-step strategy to deploying NFV safely, based on input from the companies that have already started virtualizing their production networks.
  • Interviews with leading executives at Colt, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Cisco, Nokia, ZTE, Ericsson and Heavy Reading.
  • Flash Poll
    Live Streaming Video
    Prepping for the Future: Upskill U Explained
    During this short kick-off video, Doug Webster, Vice President of Service Provider Marketing, Cisco, and Light Reading’s CEO & Founder Steve Saunders give an overview of Upskill U.
    LRTV Interviews
    AT&T Expert on the Key Pillars of UC

    4|29|16   |   03:58   |   (0) comments


    Vishy Gopalakrishnan, AVP of product marketing at AT&T, talks about the three developments that are making unified communications and collaboration secure and reliable for enterprise users.
    LRTV Documentaries
    LRTV Report: Mobile Core Innovation

    4|28|16   |   25:32   |   (0) comments


    Hear from multiple industry experts from Deutsche Telekom, SK Telecom, Heavy Reading, Huawei, Cisco, Ericsson, Nokia, NEC and many more about developments in the mobile core as operators virtualize their IMS and evolved packet core systems and prepare for a 5G world.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    NFV World Congress Highlight

    4|26|16   |     |   (0) comments


    The highlight of the NFV World Congress contains exciting telecom news. Join us for an inside look at Huawei's ICT 2020 plan and its latest collaboration with industry leaders.
    LRTV Interviews
    Unified Comms Finds Its Voice

    4|25|16   |   03:44   |   (0) comments


    Peter Quinlan, VP of UCC Product Management at Tata Communications, talks about the evolution of the unified communications and collaboration services sector and how voice is now a big part of current developments.
    LRTV Documentaries
    So... What Do We Do Now?

    4|25|16   |   03:24   |   (0) comments


    After a long hiatus, Max Dingman, the CEO of a GeeGhiz, returns for a motivational board room pep talk.
    LRTV Documentaries
    NAB 2016 Highlights

    4|21|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Light Reading's Cable/Video Practice Leader Alan Breznick climbs down from the slots to tell us about the latest news in broadcast technology at NAB 2016 in Las Vegas.
    Between the CEOs
    CEO Chat: Deepfield's Craig Labovitz

    4|21|16   |     |   (0) comments


    In this latest installment of the CEO Chat series, Craig Labovitz, co-founder and CEO of Deepfield, sits down with Light Reading's Steve Saunders in Light Reading's New York City office to discuss how Deepfield fits in with the big data trend and more.
    Shades of Ray
    Leading Lights 2016: Shortlists Announced

    4|20|16   |   0:53   |   (0) comments


    The judging is over and the Leading Lights 2016 shortlists have been published -- you can see who made the cut by clicking on this link.
    LRTV Custom TV
    Introducing MulteFire – Qualcomm at MWC 2016

    4|18|16   |   3.29   |   (0) comments


    MulteFire is the latest option for using LTE in unlicensed spectrum. As oppose to its close 'siblings', LAA and LTE-U, MulteFire operates solely in unlicensed spectrum, which enables it to offer the best of two worlds – LTE-like performance with WiFi-like deployment simplicity. In this interview, Sanjeev Athalye, Sr. Director, Product Management at Qualcomm ...
    Between the CEOs
    CEO Chat: Grant Van Rooyen of Cologix

    4|18|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Grant van Rooyen, president and CEO of Cologix, sits down with Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, in the vendor's New Jersey facility to offer an inside look at the company's success story and discuss the importance of security in the telecom industry.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    ONS 2016 – Demonstration of Huawei's NetMatrix Multi-Vendor SDN Orchestrator

    4|15|16   |     |   (0) comments


    This demonstration shows how Huawei's NetMatrix SDN Orchestrator (SDN-O) addresses an operator's core service agility needs for services spanning multi-domain, multivendor networks: it includes a demonstration of:
    - Rapid New Service Design: using YANG to model a complex example of multi-domain, multivendor L3VPN network connectivity service that ...
    LRTV Custom TV
    AT&T Wants to Own North Carolina

    4|15|16   |     |   (1) comment


    Venessa Harrison, president of North Carolina for AT&T, tells how the company will expand its GigaPower service beyond the seven N.C. cities it already serves.

  • This blog, sponsored by AT&T, is the second part of a ten-part series examining next-generation broadband technologies titled "Behind the Speeds."
  • Upcoming Live Events
    May 23, 2016, Austin, TX
    May 23, 2016, Austin Convention Center
    May 24-25, 2016, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
    September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
    December 6-8, 2016,
    June 16-18, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
    All Upcoming Live Events
    Infographics
    A new survey conducted by Heavy Reading and TM Forum shows that CSPs around the world see the move to digital operations as a necessary part of their overall virtualization strategies.
    Hot Topics
    Ultra-Broadband Summit, Hong Kong
    Iain Morris, News Editor, 4/27/2016
    GoT Fans Curse HBO (Not Right) Now
    Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 4/25/2016
    Mitel Asks: What Time of Day Do You Shower?
    Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 4/25/2016
    Charter Jumps Gun on TWC Restructuring
    Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 4/26/2016
    LoRa Alliance Defends Tech Against Sigfox Slur
    Iain Morris, News Editor, 4/28/2016
    Like Us on Facebook
    Twitter Feed
    BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
    In this latest installment of the CEO Chat series, Craig Labovitz, co-founder and CEO of Deepfield, sits down with Light Reading's Steve Saunders in Light Reading's New York City office to discuss how Deepfield fits in with the big data trend and more.
    Grant van Rooyen, president and CEO of Cologix, sits down with Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, in the vendor's New Jersey facility to offer an inside look at the company's success story and discuss the importance of security in the telecom industry.
    Animals with Phones
    Live Digital Audio

    Of all the tech companies in the Valley, Intel has made the most aggressive commitment to building a diverse and inclusive workplace culture. It's doing so by taking concrete, measurable steps, making a large financial investment and through a commitment to complete transparency about its progress. In this radio show, WiC Director Sarah Thomas will be joined by Shlomit Weiss, Intel's Vice President, Data Center Group, and General Manager of Networking Engineering, who will share with us why Intel is tackling this huge challenge, how and to what effect. She will also discuss her unique experiences leading development of Client SOC development in the past and today leading development of all of the chipmaker's silicon hardware for networking IPs and discrete devices and managing a team of 600 engineers across Israel, Europe and the US.