AT&T AT&T carries 197 petabytes of data traffic every business day, according to a blog post from Chris Rice, the Senior Vice President of AT&T Labs, Domain 2.0 Architecture and Design. That means that transitioning to an AT&T software defined network is not just the better way to do things, according to Rice. It’s the only way, he said.

The AT&T software defined network will require a massive and multilayered transition that can be compared to overhauling a major highway without stopping traffic, said Rice, who refers to the effort as “Network AI.” His blog post highlights what has been accomplished and the timing going forward.

AT&T Software Defined Network
Early in 2015, AT&T said that it would virtualize and place software-controls over 75% of the core network by 2020. The interim goal of 55% last year was met. Recently, another interim goal — 65% completion — was set for this year. Another key objective for 2018 is to launch mobile 5G. AT&T says it will do so to 12 cities, starting with parts

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chris rice att
Chris Rice

of Dallas, Atlanta and Waco, TX.

The effort to virtualize the network on an open source software foundation has several elements:

  • ONAP is the operating system for the network cloud. The project now includes more than 50 network and cloud operators and technology companies worldwide. They collectively represent more than 60% of the world’s mobile subscribers. The second release of ONAP, called Beijing, is slated for release during the second quarter.
  • DANOS is the OS for the generic (“white box”) servers that are used in a virtualized network. AT&T has said that it will support its 5G initiative with the deployment of as many as 60,000 of these devices.
  • Acumos, which was co-created by AT&T and Tech Mahindra, is an AI platform that enables the chaining of microservices via a drag-and-drop interface. The Linux Foundation has announced that Acumos is available to the public.
  • Akraino Edge Stack is aimed at bringing advanced functions to the edge.

Though hardware is deemphasized, it still plays a key role in the AT&T software defined network. Rice wrote that AT&T’s specification for its universal customer premises equipment (uCPE) has been approved by the Open Compute Platform. The uCPE is installed at business locations and hosts applications and services.

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