Light Reading

AT&T Has High Hopes for SDN

Ray Le Maistre
11/6/2012
50%
50%

NEW YORK -- Ethernet Expo 2012 -- The introduction of software-defined networking (SDN) capabilities into telco networks has the potential to increase efficiency and innovation across the communications industry ecosystem, but there's a lot of work to be done yet to figure out whether SDN strategies will ultimately pay off for carriers.

That's the key takeaway from a presentation given here Tuesday morning by Margaret Chiosi, executive director, optics and Ethernet development, at AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), one of the founders of the Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) that was formed recently under the auspices of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) . (See Carriers Collaborate on Network of the Future.)

She said the general concept of a separate data and control plane, which is central to SDN architectures, has been around for some time and that the current hype around the use of more generic physical infrastructure and virtualized applications was now bringing the idea more out into the open. "I'm happy with the marketing hype because now the industry has woken up," she stated.

Now, though, there's plenty to be done. While the Open Networking Foundation has already developed a protocol, OpenFlow, for the interface between the data and control planes that is being widely adopted, there's plenty of other Application Programing Interface (API) work to be done, with the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) , an industry organization in which Chiosi is very active, turning its attentions to API specifications that will enable cloud services and SDN architectures.

There's also the potential of applications virtualization, but that's not a scenario that can be applied across the board. "I'm not sure every device in the network can be virtualized, though there are a lot of candidates in the wired and wireless worlds," stated the AT&T exec.

As for the commercial off-the-shelf hardware that might be the data bedrock of any software-defined network, Chiosi noted, not surprisingly, that the carriers were keen on deploying more generic hardware, but "the vendors, not so much."

The current model of having dedicated hardware for each application is one that makes it hard for new entrants to enter the market and one that also stifles innovation. "We want [vendors] to focus on the software and be more innovative, enable us to shrink and grow our network requirements as we need them. Currently we have to design our networks for the maximum, the peak load," and that's not efficient, noted the AT&T exec.

But there are plenty of challenges to overcome before SDN architectures can be considered for carrier networks -- multiple applications will need to be able to coexist on a single server, for example -- and the key metric will be simplicity. "There's no point in moving to SDN if it's just as complex as what we have now," she stated.

That could be the toughest task of all.

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Sultan Bou Hamdan
50%
50%
Sultan Bou Hamdan,
User Rank: Light Beer
5/16/2013 | 7:54:37 PM
re: AT&T Has High Hopes for SDN
I agree with Margaret to the fact that a lot of work to be done on the API but the network readiness for open protocol and the strategic plan to virtualize the applications and services should start from today.
joanengebretson
50%
50%
joanengebretson,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:17:59 PM
re: AT&T Has High Hopes for SDN


Interesting post. Thanks. It's always good to get the service provider take on new technologies, which are invariably hyped by the vendors.


Did she say anything about what AT&T sees as the most compelling applications for SDN?

Flash Poll
From The Founder
Ericsson's Hyperscale Datacenter System (HDS) 8000, featuring Intel's Rack Scale Architecture, caused a stir when it was announced at MWC 2015. For more on this revolutionary product, join me on Thursday, April 30 at 12:00 p.m. EST for a Super Webinar event, A New Hardware Paradigm for the Telco Data Center.
LRTV Documentaries
Cox Eyes Cloud-Based Home Networks

4|27|15   |   05:30   |   (0) comments


Cox's Jeff Finkelstein explains how moving services to the cloud will let cable deliver services faster and eliminate constant hardware replacements.
LRTV Documentaries
CableLabs' Clarke Updates Cable Virtualization

4|23|15   |   05:41   |   (1) comment


Former BT exec now leading CableLabs' NFV and SDN efforts explains key role of open source and updates efforts to virtualize the home network.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. II

4|23|15   |   08:19   |   (1) comment


In the second installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about cultural change, network slicing and technology advances.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. I

4|23|15   |   09:27   |   (3) comments


In the first installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about the incredible transformation underway in the communications networking industry.
LRTV Documentaries
LTE Paves the Way for the 5G Revolution

4|20|15   |   4:20   |   (0) comments


Håkan Andersson, head of 5G product strategy of the Radio Business Unit at Ericsson, discusses the role of LTE, the US and other industry verticals in building a true 5G ecosystem.
LRTV Documentaries
The 3GPP's Road to 5G Standardization

4|17|15   |   4:43   |   (0) comments


Satoshi Nagata, chairman of the 3GPP's TSG-RAN group and a manager at NTT Docomo, explains the standardization process for 5G, as well as the biggest challenges and opportunities.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu CTO Makes the Case for a New 5G Air Interface

4|16|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Michael Peeters, CTO of wireless at Alcatel-Lucent, explains why 5G will require a new air interface to meet its diverse performance targets.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu + Nokia: The New Uber-Vendor

4|15|15   |   2:42   |   (4) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Gabriel Brown discusses the technological and competitive opportunities and challenges if a merger between Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia comes to pass.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Data Center Power Play

4|15|15   |   6:22   |   (0) comments


Huawei has developed industry-leading energy efficiency capabilities for its indoor and outdoor data center solutions, explains Dr. Fang Liangzhou, vice president of Huawei's Network Energy product Line.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Routers, Switches Get the Green Mark

4|15|15   |   2:02   |   (0) comments


TUV Rheinland's Frank Dudley explains how Huawei's routers and switches have been successfully tested by energy efficiency experts and have gained Green Mark Certification.
LRTV Documentaries
A Finn, a Frenchman & a Guy From New Jersey Walk Into a Merger...

4|15|15   |   3:17   |   (0) comments


Stop us if you've heard this one before... Light Reading CEO Founder & CEO Steve Saunders weighs in on the technical and cultural implications of a Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent merger.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accounting for Better Solutions

4|10|15   |   02:31   |   (1) comment


Murad Yousuf, CTO at Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Finance (Dept. of Zakat & Income Tax), talks about the benefits of deploying router technology from Huawei.
Upcoming Live Events
May 6, 2015, Georgia World Congress, Atlanta, GA
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
In its latest survey covering network operators' plans and strategies for ICT transformation, Heavy Reading asked telecom operators worldwide to identify the most important goals and objectives for their ICT transformation initiatives. Heavy Reading also asked operators about the importance of a "digital first" strategy, which enables customers to complete an interaction across different digital channels, such as web and mobile self-service and social media.
Hot Topics
Comcast Formally Ends Its Bid for TWC
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/24/2015
What if the Comcast Merger Fails?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/20/2015
Google's WiFi-First Mobile Service 'Fi' Is Here
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/22/2015
Comcast Reportedly Dropping $45B TWC Bid
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 4/23/2015
Adtran Is Developing White Box GPON Tech
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 4/24/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Many leading communications companies can claim to have undergone significant periods of reinvention during their histories, but none have been through more major ...
Data Center Interconnect, or DCI, is one of the hottest sectors in telecom currently. Since coming back to Light Reading last year, prodigal-son style, I've ...
Cats with Phones
Learning Curve Click Here
Pierre could never remember how to use Excel.
Latest Comment