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SDN architectures

AT&T Revamps Supplier Program for SDN/NFV

DALLAS -- AT&T today launched the next generation of its Supplier Domain Program – Domain 2.0 – triggering a swift and broad move to a modern, cloud-based architecture that is expected to significantly reduce the time required to pivot to this target architecture while accelerating time-to-market with technologically advanced products and services.

Domain 2.0 is a transformative initiative. Integrated through AT&T’s Wide Area Network (WAN) and utilizing Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networks (SDN), as well as modern architectural and operational approaches, AT&T plans to simplify and scale its network by:

  • Separating hardware and software functionality;
  • Separating network control plane and forwarding planes; and
  • Improving management of functionality in the software layer.

    Delivering this will require some of AT&T’s current providers, but also will require some new providers with different skills and capabilities.

    AT&T plans to begin selecting vendors and awarding business beginning in late 2013 and through 2014. AT&T is not revising its previously announced capital expenditure guidance for 2014-15 as a result of this announcement. However, in the next five years, AT&T expects this program to reflect a downward bias toward capital spending. “Our goal is to ensure that each investment accelerates our move towards an advanced all-IP broadband, all-wireless, and all-cloud infrastructure, delivers on the full promise of game-changing technologies, provides an industry leading customer experience, and maintains focus on a capital-efficient network,” said Tim Harden, President, AT&T Supply Chain.

    “The Supplier Domain program has a proven track record of delivering cost performance and modern technologies, while dramatically reducing the time to market with our products and services,” Harden said. “We fully expect Domain 2.0 to hasten our pivot.”

    With these advances, AT&T plans to increase the value of its network by:

  • Driving improved time-to-revenue;
  • Providing cost-performance leadership;
  • Enabling new growth services and apps;
  • Ensuring world-class, industry leading security, performance and reliability; and
  • Facilitating new business and revenue models.

    These capabilities build off the principles of SDN and NFV. SDN is an architectural framework for creating intelligent networks that are open, programmable and application aware. NFV is the process of decoupling hardware from software that transforms dedicated network functions into software-based virtualized network functions that can operate in a common, standard, execution environment, supporting a large variety of services. This modern architecture will simplify and scale AT&T’s network to help support the continued growth of Internet traffic, as well as provide industry leading security, performance and reliability.

    In 2009, AT&T established the Supplier Domain approach (Domain 1.0) to facilitate faster product-to-market timelines, to target R&D by the suppliers, and to foster a more collaborative relationship with a few select equipment and software suppliers in eight network “domains.” AT&T defines domains as “areas of the future network bounded by a particular technology set, such as wireless access.”

    AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)

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