Wednesday, February 1, 2017

AT&T Develops its Indigo Platform, Moves ECOMP to Linux Foundation

AT&T is pushing ahead with its Network 3.0 Indigo (“Indigo”) framework, which aims to integrate technologies like Big Data, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, cybersecurity and software-defined networking (SDN).

“We see Indigo as the third generation of modern networking,” said John Donovan, chief strategy officer and group president, Technology and Operations. “Indigo is our term for a world where it isn’t just your connection speeds that are accelerating, but every element of the network becomes more seamless, efficient and capable. It is a living, evolving, upgradeable platform. Think of Indigo like the operating system on your phone. We’re taking that model to the network.”

At an event in San Francisco, AT&T laid out several elements of its network innovation that are helping the company drive to Indigo:

5G Evolution – AT&T plans to launch its first “5G Evolution Markets” in the coming months in Austin and Indianapolis, with a goal of theoretical peak speeds of 400 Mbps or higher.  As its continue densifying the network and deploying technologies, like carrier aggregation and LTE-License Assisted Access (LAA), AT&T expects to enable theoretical peak speeds up to 1Gbps in some areas in 2017.

Software-defined networking – Data on the AT&T mobile network has increased about 250,000% since 2007, and most of that traffic is video. AT&T has already converted 34% of its network functionality to SDN and is on the way to 75% by 2020. AT&T is announcing a network virtualization goal for year end 2017 of 55%.

Open sourcing ECOMP – ECOMP (Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy) is the orchestration platform created to power AT&T's software-defined network. AT&T is officially announcing that ECOMP will be part of an open source project, hosted by the Linux Foundation. The code is built in a CI/CD environment and consists of 11 different modules, all set up as separate virtual machines filled with code in 1 or more containers.

Data Platform – AT&T aims to create a trusted environment where organizations can share data and collaborate on analytics in a secure environment. One where privacy choices and requirements are respected.

“Indigo is unique because it will be data powered and software controlled,” said Andre Fuetsch, president AT&T Labs and chief technology officer. “Those are powerful tools, but they also require a unique level of collaboration with software developers and other third parties. In particular, we think the open source community has a huge role. Open source ECOMP is part of that. We’re also heavy users and developers of OpenStack, Open Contrail and other open source software tools. We encourage developers and other innovators to get involved. We need their input as much as we need the expertise of the big, traditional vendors.”