AT&TAT&T has wrapped up testing single-wavelength 400 GbE (Gigabit Ethernet) in its production network. The announcement was the final step of a three-stage trial and readies the carrier to upgrade its backbone using the technology.

“Introducing 400 GbE is a natural next step. Customer demands have shifted to faster speeds, more video-centric content and cloud integration,” said Roman Pacewicz, chief product officer, AT&T Business in a press release. “We consistently provide top-quality services to businesses and are proud to pave the way for this industry innovation.”

Single-Wavelength 400 GbE
The carrier said that the third stage of the trial demonstrated its shift to open and software-centric networks. AT&T used an open source controller to provide end-to-end transport across its OpenROADM metro network via Ciena optical gear. The move to software-based networks enables carriers to offer lower costs through a number of efficiencies, including the use of white box equipment instead of more expensive purpose-built gear.

In March, AT&T trialed a 400 Gigabit Ethernet connection between New York City and Washington, D.C. A simulated failure was introduced and the network software controls successfully rerouted the live data stream through an alternative path.

The announcement marks the end of the third phase of testing. When the initiative launched in October, 2016, AT&T said that the first phase would use gear from Coriant to move the data between New York City and Washington, D.C.. That phase concluded in March of this year. Part of that test was the introduction of a simulated failure. Network software controls successfully rerouted the live data stream through an alternative path.

The third phase – the one that concluded last week, focused on the disaggregated router platform. AT&T clearly has reason to expand its capacity. It reports that traffic across its network increased by 150,000% between 2007 and 2015 – and continues to grow