Cisco, Juniper, Brocade to virtualize AT&T

Developing SDN routing for carrier CPE

AT&T logo on Boston store

The AT&T logo seen on the door of the company's Boston store on Sept. 18, 2015.

Credit: Nick Barber

Cisco, Juniper Networks and Brocade are intent on granting customer AT&T’s wishes.

They have been lined up to develop virtualized interpretations of their respective routers for AT&T’s SDN CPE project. AT&T plans to run the routers as virtualized network functions (VNF) on bare metal hardware running at AT&T operating system and software control stack.

The VNF CPE is a component of AT&T’s larger SDN/NFV project known as Network on Demand, or Domain 2.0. The carrier is narrowing suppliers to a select group that can meet its SDN/NFV operational and service needs.

+MORE ON NETWORK WORLD: AT&T lays out ‘radical’ network changes with SDN+

Cisco will focus VNF development on its Integrated Service Routers with “advanced virtualization capabilities,” a spokesperson said. Juniper will work on “a software-based appliance, designed to AT&T's specifications, which enables customers to run multiple virtual functions on one device.”

Brocade, which is already supplying an SDN controller to AT&T, will develop cloud-based access routing for the carrier’s Managed Internet Service. It means customers won't need to buy additional routers at their locations, AT&T said.

The products overall are intended to give customers more control by allowing them to quickly update network functions without having to buy new hardware, AT&T said.

In addition to business service routing, AT&T is looking at a few CPE opportunities with SDN and VNFs. They include virtualized IP PBX, and optical transport and access.

Reconfigurable optical add/drop multiplexers and virtualized optical line termination for fiber-to-the-home deployments based on Gigabit Passive Optical Networks are prime targets, the carrier noted.

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