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
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
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Documentaries
Optical Is Hot in 2015

1|23|15   |   01:56   |   (2) comments


Optical comms technology underpins the whole communications sector and there are some really hot trends set for 2015.
LRTV Custom TV
Policy Control in the Fast Lane

1|22|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


What's making policy control strategic in 2015 and beyond? Amdocs talks with Heavy Reading's Graham Finnie about the key factors driving change in the data services landscape. Find out what his policy management research reveals about the road ahead for policy control – and sign up for ...
LRTV Documentaries
Highlights From the 2020 Vision Executive Summit

1|21|15   |   4:33   |   (2) comments


In December 2014, Light Reading brought together telecom executives in Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss their vision for high-capacity networks through the end of the decade. The intimate, interactive meeting was set against the backdrop of Iceland's spectacular natural beauty. As one of the event's founding sponsors, Cisco's Doug Webster shared his company's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Harmonic, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment with Huawei

1|20|15   |   5:42   |   (1) comment


At IBC, Peter Alexander, Senior Vice President & CMO at Harmonic, speaks about the growing interest in pay-TV service and its branching into multiple devices.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Sony Marketing Director Olivier Bovis Discusses the Outlook for 4K and Cooperation With Huawei at IBC 2014

1|20|15   |   6:50   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Envivio, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment

1|20|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Pay-TV's Networked Future

1|20|15   |   6:29   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about the future of the pay-TV industry and its transition.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Jeff Heynen: Distributed Access Will Help MSOs Compete in the Future

1|20|15   |   2:26   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about moving to distributed access and the future trend of cable business.
LRTV Interviews
Cisco Talks Transformation

1|20|15   |   13:02   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Steve Saunders sat down with Cisco VP of Products & Solutions Marketing Doug Webster at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. They spoke about Cisco's approach to network virtualization as well as how service providers can begin to monetize high-capacity networks through the end of the decade.
LRTV Interviews
Bob Wilson, Arsenal Legend: The Light Reading Interview

1|16|15   |   35:36   |   (3) comments


Arsenal goalkeeping legend Bob Wilson was Light Reading's guest interviewee at the 2020 Vision Executive Summit in December. See what the former soccer star and sports broadcaster had to say when he took to the stage in Iceland.
LRTV Custom TV
What MEF Third Network Initiative Means for SDN & NFV

1|14|15   |   6:13   |   (0) comments


Vitesse Semiconductor CTO Martin Nuss discusses the importance of the MEF Third Network initiative and why it's good news for SDN/NFV industry initiatives.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Frank Miller: Distributed Solutions are the Best Build for the Future - Part II

1|9|15   |   2:46   |   (0) comments


At SCTE, Frank Miller, Global CTO of MSO at Huawei, speaks about Cable 2.0 and its innovative future.
Upcoming Live Events
February 5, 2015, Washington, DC
February 19, 2015, The Fairmont San Jose, San Jose, CA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 9-10, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2-3, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
Infographics
Hot Topics
BlackBerry Wants Net Neutrality Protection -- That's Just Sad
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 1/22/2015
FiOS Picks Up Pace Again
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 1/22/2015
Verizon Ready for Google MVNO Challenge
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 1/22/2015
Indiana Carrier Takes Fiber to the Farm
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 1/22/2015
The New Internet Space Race: Google's Final Frontier?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 1/21/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive