Sponsored By

AT&T's Pacewicz: 'We See the Cloud Fragmenting Again'AT&T's Pacewicz: 'We See the Cloud Fragmenting Again'

AT&T Business Chief Product Officer Roman Pacewicz describes how edge computing, 5G and network virtualization are required for next-generation applications that can deliver new business opportunities for the operator.

Mitch Wagner

March 14, 2019

3 Min Read
AT&T's Pacewicz: 'We See the Cloud Fragmenting Again'

As AT&T nears the end of its long march to network virtualization, it's gearing up to exploit its telco cloud platform to enable new edge and 5G applications for enterprises and new business opportunities for the ambitious operator, says Roman Pacewicz, AT&T Business's chief product officer.

AT&T has virtualized 65% of its core network during the past five year, and is on track to meet its goal of virtualizing 75% of its network functions by next year.

"We see the cloud fragmenting again and certain workloads being pushed out to the edge -- at customer [premises] and in the network -- with more heavy-duty storage, and the back end being in the centralized cloud," Pacewicz told Light Reading during an interview conducted at the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

"Nowhere is [virtualization] more important than in our rollout of 5G," Pacewicz says. "If we didn't have a network edge cloud environment that takes the mobile core out to the edge of the network, those deployments would be complicated and longer. The whole strategy of virtualization and cloudification of the network becomes more important in upgrading the infrastructure to 5G, because everything is virtualized and software-enabled."

A new generation of services enabled by 5G will require low latency, and therefore require compute and storage resources close to the edge of the network, Pacewicz says.

As an example, the AT&T man cites a joint project with Microsoft to deliver Microsoft Azure cloud services from the AT&T network edge, for reduced latency, announced during Mobile World Congress. For applications such as AI, mixed reality and augmented reality, latency needs to be no greater than 20 milliseconds and that requires data to be processed closer to the edge of the network and closer to the end user, Pacewicz says.

For example, AT&T is teaming with Israeli startup Vorpal on projects to monitor the location of drones around sensitive locations such as aircraft and airports, alert authorities if they're flying in restricted areas, and even identify the location of a drone's controller. That kind of application requires low latency enabled by edge computing, Pacewicz says.

Figure 1: AT&T Business and a feline friend at Mobile World Congress 2018. AT&T Business and a feline friend at Mobile World Congress 2018.

You're invited to attend Light Reading's Big 5G Event!  Formerly the Big Communications Event and 5G North America, Big 5G is where telecom's brightest minds deliver the critical insight needed to piece together the 5G puzzle. We'll see you May 6-8 in Denver -- communications service providers get in free!

Similarly, retailers are looking into facial recognition to identify individual buyers and suss out their preference based on their shopping history. A retailer with 8,000–10,000 stores can't have dedicated compute at every site, but needs low latency to create new types of experience, Pacewicz says.

And networks need 2 millisecond latency for safe interactions between robots and human beings, he says.

SD-WAN is a key part of making the network more intelligent and flexible to accommodate 5G applications by optimizing traffic routing, particularly as edge devices don't just consume data, but also generate it, Pacewicz says. Both AT&T and competitor Verizon separately announced plans last month to update their SD-WAN services as part of their 5G plans.

Related posts:

— Mitch Wagner Visit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on TwitterJoin my Facebook GroupRead my blog: Things Mitch Wagner Saw Executive Editor, Light Reading

Read more about:


About the Author(s)

Mitch Wagner

Executive Editor, Light Reading

San Diego-based Mitch Wagner is many things. As well as being "our guy" on the West Coast (of the US, not Scotland, or anywhere else with indifferent meteorological conditions), he's a husband (to his wife), dissatisfied Democrat, American (so he could be President some day), nonobservant Jew, and science fiction fan. Not necessarily in that order.

He's also one half of a special duo, along with Minnie, who is the co-habitor of the West Coast Bureau and Light Reading's primary chewer of sticks, though she is not the only one on the team who regularly munches on bark.

Wagner, whose previous positions include Editor-in-Chief at Internet Evolution and Executive Editor at InformationWeek, will be responsible for tracking and reporting on developments in Silicon Valley and other US West Coast hotspots of communications technology innovation.

Beats: Software-defined networking (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV), IP networking, and colored foods (such as 'green rice').

Subscribe and receive the latest news from the industry.
Join 62,000+ members. Yes it's completely free.

You May Also Like