Light Reading

AT&T's Cloud Future Takes Shape

Dan Jones
2/24/2014
50%
50%
Repost This

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 Beer
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 
Dan@LightReadingMobile
50%
50%
Dan@LightReadingMobile,
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
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Eyes Big Technology Shifts

4|16|14   |   03:02   |   (4) comments


US cable engineers are facing a lot of heavy lifting in the coming years, notes Light Reading Cable/Video Practice Leader Alan Breznick.
LRTV Custom TV
Maximizing Customer Experience & Assuring Service Delivery in an IP World

4|15|14   |   4:57   |   (0) comments


Steven Shalita, VP of Marketing, NetScout Systems, Inc., discusses the challenges cable/MSO operators face in assuring the delivery of new IP-based services. Key points include the value of proactively managing performance, and using rich analytics and operational intelligence to better understand service and usage trends, make smarter business decisions and ...
LRTV Documentaries
Bye-Bye DVD: Consumers Embrace Digital Video

4|10|14   |   04:17   |   (7) comments


Veteran video analyst Colin Dixon, founder and principal analyst of nScreenMedia, says research shows 56% are using digital video already.
LRTV Documentaries
Video: TW Cable Puts Multicast Gateways to the Test

4|8|14   |   04:13   |   (1) comment


Tom Gonder, a chief architect at Time Warner Cable, explains how its trial of multicast gateways is impacting IP-based video plans.
LRTV Custom TV
Managing & Monetizing Big Data in Operator Environments

4|7|14   |     |   (1) comment


At Mobile World Congress, Gigamon's Director of Service Provider Solutions, Andy Huckridge, and Heavy Reading Analyst Sarah Wallace discuss the 'big data' issues facing carriers and operators today.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Data Center Energy – Build Your Data Center in a Modular Way

4|7|14   |   2:13   |   (0) comments


Dr. Fang Liangzhou, VP Network Energy Product Line, shared his thoughts about the challenges for data centers during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Agile Network Solution – An Overview of Huawei's Agile Network Solution

4|7|14   |   2:31   |   (0) comments


Ajay Gupta, Director of Product Marketing, Networking Product Line, gives an overview of the Agile Network Solutions during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s eLTE Voice Trunking, Video and Data Applied for Railways

4|7|14   |   1:38   |   (0) comments


Gottfried Winter is the Sales Director at Funkwerk, a German specialist in GSM-r terminals and a long-time partner of Huawei. At CeBIT 2014, Winter talks to Light Reading about this partnership and the integration of enhanced voice trunking, video and data functions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
LeaseWeb Speaks Highly of Huawei's Datacenter Products

4|7|14   |   1:37   |   (0) comments


Rene Olde Olthof, Operations Director LeaseWeb, talks about the next data center transformation during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Documentaries
Comcast: Reshaping the Cable Network Architecture

4|3|14   |   07:11   |   (8) comments


Shamim Akhtar, Comcast's architect and senior director of network strategy, explains why the cable company is moving to a more distributed network architecture.
LRTV Custom TV
VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger at Mobile World Congress

4|1|14   |   3:41   |   (0) comments


VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger speaks to Heavy Reading about the value of virtualization spanning from the data center to service provider networks to mobile devices.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Analysts' Impressions of Huawei SoftCOM at ONS 2014

4|1|14   |   1:11   |   (0) comments


After visiting the Huawei booth at ONS, Lee Doyle of Doyle Research gives his appraisal of Huawei's SoftCOM solution.
Hot Topics
BlackBerry Invests in Healthcare IT Startup
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/15/2014
Volvo: AT&T HSPA+ Can Drive My Car
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/16/2014
T-Mobile Petitions Operators to Kill Overages
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/14/2014
Cisco & VMware Are Apple & Google of SDN
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 4/14/2014
Mobile Apps Susceptible to Heartbleed, Too
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/14/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed