Light Reading

AT&T's Cloud Future Takes Shape

Dan Jones
2/24/2014
50%
50%

BARCELONA — Mobile World Congress 2014 — AT&T sent a clear signal of its willingness to shake up its vendor list in the move to virtualization by naming startup Affirmed Networks as the first vendor to work on the network operator's virtualized EPC architecture as part of the AT&T's "Domain 2.0" program to reduce network costs and speed service development and deployment.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) said Monday that it has selected Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Tail-f Systems , and Metaswitch Networks for further discussions on design and deployment. The initiative is designed to accelerate the carrier's move to software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV), help it adopt a more cloud-based approach, and enable it to reduce capital expenses. (See AT&T Puts SDN/NFV in Driver's Seat.)

In a brief appearance here in Barcelona Monday afternoon, AT&T's John Donovan, senior executive vice president of AT&T technology and network operations, said to expect more vendors to be announced in 2014, including some that haven't worked in the telecom space before.

Donovan's presentation stuck close to a blog posted by AT&T today. Nonetheless, he stressed the radical nature of the changing way that AT&T is working with suppliers on this project with suppliers, stressing that the operator needed to take an innovative approach if it is to create the "User-Defined Network Cloud."

Here's how the operator envisages that cloud:

AT&T's Ambitious Cloud
Source: AT&T Inc.
Source: AT&T Inc.

Startup Affirmed Networks got the first crack at AT&T's virtualized Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) over much larger vendors, including Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) and Ericsson, who have announced and are demonstrating eVPCs here. Affirmed has been working in this area already with its AN3000 platform (See Affirmed Brings Smarts to Mobile Data Flows and Packet Core Looks 'Ripe' for Virtualization.)

The EPC is essential for routing different data streams correctly on LTE networks. Making it virtual simply means creating a standard server software platform to handle the tasks that would have previously been done by custom hardware. (See Evolved Packet Core (EPC) for more on the technology.)

"We have... around 10 or so commercial deployments, some with tier-one operators," Affirmed CEO Hassan Ahmed told Light Reading earlier this month. (See Affirmed Claims Mobile NFV Customers, Trials.)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

(5)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
mhhf1ve
50%
50%
mhhf1ve,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/27/2014 | 6:24:58 PM
Re: AT&T Network Virtualization
DOShea, 

If this is really a sign of things to come, it will be a wild year or two ahead

You hit the nail on the head with that -- IF this is a sign.. AT&T has had a pretty long history of trialing all sorts of innovative/disruptive technologies, but its track record shows that it doesn't necessarily follow through after the tests.

 

DOShea
50%
50%
DOShea,
User Rank: Blogger
2/25/2014 | 6:07:51 PM
Re: AT&T Network Virtualization
If this is really a sign of things to come, it will be a wild year or two ahead. Much welcome by those tired of the norm, much to fear for those who have had a lock on carrier business for years, much to regret for small, innovative vendors that started too early and couldn't survive to see this day.
RitchBlasi
50%
50%
RitchBlasi,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/25/2014 | 9:55:17 AM
AT&T Network Virtualization
Wow, going outside the normal supply chain...that is quite a shock.  I'm sure Mobile World Congress will supply AT&T and others a number of alternatives to the regulars attending the party.  Sounds like the carriers are outside their comfort zone - they know what they want and when they will really need it, but getting to the point of offering true high-quality carrier-grade virtualization can take a couple/few years.  One thing they will retain is to ensure the 5 "9s" of quality they expect and will not sacrifice by moving from a traditional box network to a flatter model where there are less boxes that do more. - even with the capex and opex savings.  Think we'll also see more companies that previsously offered boxes to software driven solutions - i.e., like virtualizing the session border controllers 
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
2/24/2014 | 8:17:03 PM
Re: Long-run impact
Nope

Like I said, he stuck close to the spirit of his blog, stressed that this was no where close to the end of the selection and said people should approach AT&T if they thought they had something to offer.
Carol Wilson
50%
50%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
2/24/2014 | 5:03:14 PM
Long-run impact
AT&T choosing Affirmed Networks to work on the virtual EPC was something of a surprise - I wonder what it means for the long haul. 

Did Donovan offer any explanation for the choices?
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Network architects aiming to upgrade their networks to support agile, open, virtualized services in the 21st century need to consider new criteria when choosing between technology suppliers.
Live Streaming Video
BTE 2015 Sponsor Keynote: HP
Dr. Prodip Sen, CTO, Network Functions Virtualization, HP
LRTV Documentaries
IoT in Action

6|30|15   |   1:39   |   (3) comments


Two co-workers discuss the benefits of IoT technology.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson Opens Up on OPNFV

6|30|15   |   14:16   |   (0) comments


Martin Bäckström, VP and head of industry area Datacom at Ericsson, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the emergence of OPNFV, the importance of standards and Ericsson's OPNFV plans.
LRTV Custom TV
NetNumber Founder Discusses NFV/SDN Impact on SP Networks

6|26|15   |   4:15   |   (0) comments


NetNumber Founder Doug Ranalli examines why SPs need a new network infrastructure for service agility. While NFV and SDN are the tools, the old ways of thinking about signaling control are inhibitors. Doug provides his recommendations.
LRTV Custom TV
Orchestrating NFV vCPE Services Across Multivendor Networks

6|26|15   |   5:46   |   (0) comments


Nirav Modi provides an overview of vCPE, the fastest-growing NFV use case, showing how Cyan's Blue Planet orchestrates vCPE services across a multivendor infrastructure to rapidly deliver new managed services for business customers.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE at LTE Summit Amsterdam 2015

6|26|15   |     |   (0) comments


As one of the leading global telecommunications providers, ZTE presented its cutting-edge technology at LTE World Summit 2015 in Amsterdam. On display at ZTE's booth were the latest R&D achievements in wireless, 5G development, HetNet, deep convergence of FDD and TDD, and RCS/IMD/iSDN/vCN.
LRTV Documentaries
OPNFV Director Opens Up on Women in Tech

6|25|15   |   3:25   |   (0) comments


Heather Kirksey, the director of the OPNFV, gets real about the gender disparity in open source and standards and discusses how we can change both the conversation and the gender dynamics.
LRTV Custom TV
Symantec's Service Provider Security Strategy

6|24|15   |   7:06   |   (0) comments


Didi Dayton explores Symantec's emerging enterprise security strategies for service providers. Highlights include 'killing the password,' self-defense, advanced analytics and adaptive response in a service provider architecture.
Between the CEOs
Debating Network Evolution With Cisco's Cedrik Neike

6|23|15   |   12:54   |   (2) comments


Cedrik Neike, SVP of Global Service Provider, Service Delivery, at Cisco, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about solving service provider customer problems in a virtualized, DevOps world, including multivendor support and the future of network procurement.
LRTV Documentaries
Vodafone: What's Good for Moms Is Good for Business

6|23|15   |   3:04   |   (3) comments


Megan Doberneck, the general counsel for Vodafone Americas, discusses her company's progressive maternity policy, explains why promoting women in tech is good business and offers some some good advice for any women in the industry.
LRTV Interviews
NFV: Ready for Prime Time

6|23|15   |   05:09   |   (1) comment


At BTE 2015, Vip mobile CTO Dejan Kastelic talks about how NFV is ready for the real world and how Telekom Austria is introducing centralized resources for its group operations.
LRTV Documentaries
Tykes Talk Tech

6|22|15   |   02:30   |   (9) comments


What does optical fiber look like? When will 5G arrive? What's the WiFi password at Ikea? Light Reading sat down with three 8-year-olds to answer some of the communications industry's most burning questions...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Partners With TDC for World's First Early DOCSIS 3.1 Field Test

6|22|15   |   3:06   |   (0) comments


In a move to enhance user experience, Denmark's TDC aims to become an early adopter of DOCSIS 3.1. In partnership with Huawei, TDC recently ran the world's first field tests on its coax network that reached speeds nearing 1 Gbit/s.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Staying Productive With My Office-in-a-Bag
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 6/25/2015
Who's Feeding Fiber to LinkNYC Hotspots?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 6/29/2015
First Net Neutrality Complaint Hits TWC
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 6/23/2015
Redknee Snaps Up Troubled BSS Vendor
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 6/24/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Casa Systems has been going from strength to strength over the last couple of years. In 2013, it became the first vendor to ship an integrated CCAP device -- the ...
Cedrik Neike, SVP of Global Service Provider, Service Delivery, at Cisco, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about solving service provider customer problems in a virtualized, DevOps world, including multivendor support and the future of network procurement.
Cats with Phones