AT&T announced that Orange is lining up trials of a platform designed by the U.S. operator to enable the creation and management of software-defined networks (SDN).
The France-headquartered operator will become the first telecoms service provider to utilise AT&T’s Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy (ECOMP) platform, and will play a key role in validating AT&T’s software-centric approach to meeting rapid growth in demand for network capacity, the U.S. company said.
Alain Maloberti, SVP of Orange Labs Network, said the operator opted to test the platform after analysis showed it to be “highly agile and comprehensive”. Orange intends to work with AT&T “to create a community to develop a reference software platform for automated network orchestration and management,” he added.
Orange will kick off its work on the SDN platform with laboratory tests before conducting “a field trial as part of our On-Demand Networks programme,” Maloberti explained.
AT&T stated that it has teamed with the Linux Foundation to release ECOMP as open source software. Maloberti appeared to welcome that commitment, commenting that the platform “needs a strong and dynamic open source community to drive industry adoption”.
Chris Rice, SVP of domain 2.0 architecture and design at AT&T, said Orange’s decision to trial ECOMP is “a great endorsement” of his company’s approach to future network design. “ECOMP is a stake in the ground. It’s a declaration that networks of the future will be software-centric, that they’ll be faster, more responsive to customer needs, and more efficient,” he said.
AT&T explained that it has already seen a 150,000 per cent increase in data traffic on its wireless network between 2007 and 2015, and noted that demand is only going to increase as applications including 4K video, virtual and augmented reality, and Internet of Things (IoT) take off.
The operator added that ECOMP enables telecoms service providers to quickly add new features while reducing their operational costs, improves the control of network services, and assists developers in creating new services.
Research company IHS Markit recently announced that 75 per cent of operators globally that took part in its fourth annual survey of carrier SDN strategies said they have either already deployed, or intend to deploy, SDN by the end of 2016. The company predicted that SDN will fundamentally change the architecture of telecom networks, and deliver benefits covering service agility, time to revenue, operational efficiency, and capex savings.
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