AT&T announced that it completed a field trial of a 400 gigabit Ethernet (GbE) connection between New York and Washington, D.C. The AT&T 400 GbE connection carried live data between the two cities. Simulating a network failure, automated network software controls automatically rerouted the live data stream to an alternative network path.

The successful AT&T 400 GbE trial highlights the enhanced network management capabilities AT&T and other service providers are looking to take advantage of as they roll out new software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) technology.

Late last year AT&T touted it would be the first in the industry to demonstrate 400GbE service across its commercial network, an initiative that’s part and parcel of its strategic goal of building a more powerful and efficient “software-centric” network.

“Our approach to roll out the next generation of Ethernet speeds is working. We continue to see enormous data growth on our network, fueled by video. And this will help with that growth,” said SVP, AT&T Network Product Management Rick Hubbard.

AT&T 400 GbE Plans
It’s all part of the wave of digital transformation that’s sweeping across industry sectors and markets worldwide. In a second project phase, AT&T expects to roll out 400GbE service to business customers across its OpenROADM metro network.

Phase 3 of the project entails testing the first instance of a 400GbE open router platform. Aiming to make this next-gen network equipment as affordable as possible, AT&T says it will use commercially available silicon and open source software to build it. That would make another industry first, the company notes in a press release.