AT&T likes 'white-box' networks and hopes you will, too

AT&T's Network Functions on Demand offers a standard x86 server for routing, security and other functions

AT&T’s march toward standard “white-box” network gear will come to enterprises this week with the introduction of a standard x86 server that can take the place of four specialized network devices.

AT&T is aggressively pursuing SDN and NFV (network functions virtualization), a pair of technologies that are expected to change the face of networking over the next several years. The carrier is on track to have nearly one-third of its own infrastructure virtualized this year. More important for enterprises, it’s offering customers a way to do the same thing at their own locations.

“We’re all in on this,” said Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T Business Solutions and AT&T International, in an interview at the AT&T Shape conference in San Francisco. “This is the next big thing in enterprise networking.”

The carrier has already used SDN to give customers easier ways to manage their AT&T services with Network on Demand. The new service, called AT&T Network Functions on Demand, lets them deploy a standard x86 server at each customer site that can act like multiple types of systems. What it does depends on what software the customer requests.

To start with, this so-called uCPE (Universal Customer Premises Equipment) can perform Juniper Networks virtual routing, Cisco Systems virtual routing, Fortinet virtual security and Riverbed virtual WAN optimization.

The carrier will keep adding functions developed in-house and by partners who can add functions through APIs (application programming interfaces). On Thursday, AT&T released its network automation software, called ECOMP, as open source.

Through SDN, AT&T is cutting enterprises’ networking costs and helping them adopt and modify services in as little as 10 minutes, said de la Vega said. Specialized hardware requires higher capital investment and operations costs, plus the expertise to manage a particular type of appliance. Standard servers can change that equation for the customer.

At the same time, AT&T is slashing costs and improving agility in its own house. The fact that Network Functions on Demand is being released in 76 countries and territories at once is evidence of what SDN and NFV are doing for AT&T, he said.

“We’ve never deployed a service in 76 countries at the same time,” de la Vega said.

Those countries will include Australia, the U.S., the U.K, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea and Brazil.

At the Shape conference, held at AT&T Park, AT&T hosted IoT demonstrations and a hackathon for developers.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?