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AT&T Uses LSO to Automate Wholesale Ethernet

Carol Wilson
8/2/2016
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AT&T apparently has become the first telecom service provider to put the MEF's Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) framework into practice as it launches an automated tool for its wholesale customers to qualify Ethernet services. (See AT&T Wholesale Unit Automates Ethernet Qualifying.)

The new process builds on two AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) application program interfaces (APIs) and enables AT&T Wholesale Solutions' customers to replace the often tedious and time-consuming process of figuring out what AT&T Switched Ethernet services are available at a given customer site with an automated process that can happen in minutes, and cover hundreds of sites at a time.

AT&T is working across its services to introduce greater automation, notes Dan Blemings, director of Ethernet product management for AT&T Global and Business Solutions. For this process, it found that MEF 55, the LSO framework recently introduced, provided the best approach. (See MEF Launches Lifecycle Service Orchestration Report and MEF Redefining Its Role.)

"In layman's terms, it's a picture of what it needs to look like in order to have two service providers to have a connection between them and qualify a site," he tells Light Reading in an interview. "We looked at that and we thought it made sense. And if you want to foster standardization and create an ecosystem of service providers qualifying each other, why not start there? And that's what we did."


Take a closer look at Ethernet service strategies in our Ethernet services section here on Light Reading.

Using MEF's flow for how the interaction should work, AT&T created its own software code built within that framework, and created the necessary APIs. Now when wholesale customers want to participate, there is an onboarding process that can happen fairly quickly, Blemings says, and then they are ready to go with automated qualification.

The next step will be automating the provisioning process to make Ethernet services on-demand for wholesale customers the way they are today for AT&T's retail customers. Blemings says that process is in the works, but there isn't yet a time frame for its release.

The first wholesale customer -- Birch Communications -- is already up and running on the automated qualification system and there are "a handful" of other customers up and running as well, with several more now in the onboarding process, Blemings says.

Ultimately, using an industry standard to create the capability will pay off for AT&T if it rallies more service providers to adopt this approach. "Our network is massive, but it's not omnipresent," he says. "Outside our network, we need to partner with other providers to turn up services. Having them be able to qualify services for us very quickly is something we would like as well. We are hopeful this will be helpful for the entire ecosystem of Ethernet providers."

MEF CTO Pascal Menezes calls the deployment "an industry-leading development" in the press release.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

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cnwedit
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cnwedit,
User Rank: Light Beer
8/2/2016 | 9:06:35 PM
Re: making connections
Mike,

You are exactly right - MEF has been talking about this for a LONG time. It is interesting to see a carrier implement the LSO, which is the latest iteration of various efforts. 

Carol
mrobuck
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mrobuck,
User Rank: Moderator
8/2/2016 | 8:46:03 PM
Re: making connections
Thanks Carol. I recall MEF working on speeding up the process three or four years ago, but had not heard that it had reached fruition until now. 
mhhf1ve
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mhhf1ve,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/2/2016 | 8:40:46 PM
Re: making connections
Automation is going to be a key factor to making service more robust and cost effective. I'm a bit surprised this is only now just happening at the wholesale level.
cnwedit
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cnwedit,
User Rank: Light Beer
8/2/2016 | 7:07:00 PM
Re: making connections
Mike, cable operators and telecom carriers already interconnect their networks but they do it through plodding often manual processes. This will just automate that. 

Liz, I bet this does have major benefits for someone like Birch because it makes it easier to knit together the disparate pieces. 
mrobuck
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mrobuck,
User Rank: Moderator
8/2/2016 | 6:02:36 PM
interconnect
So this is the inteconnect that MEF has been working for sometime? Maybe one day we'll have a cable company inter-connecting to a telco to better serve a large customer? 
TeleWRTRLiz
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TeleWRTRLiz,
User Rank: Lightning
8/2/2016 | 5:57:28 PM
making connections
Interesting that Birch is among the first -- I wonder if that's because they are combining so many disparate networks? That might be a good question for Birch on the NIA's radio show next week: http://www.newipagency.com/radio.asp?doc_id=725052
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