Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Network Visibility 2017 - AT&T

Carriers around the globe are embracing SDN and NFV to enhance the experience of their customers while also increasing their organizational agility and driving down operational costs, says Paul Hooper, CEO of Gigamon.

AT&T really started with the customer experience , says Josh Goodell, VP, Network on Demand, AT&T. Customers want control and flexibility in the network. He discusses how AT&T has reengineered the core fabric of its network to enhance the customer experience.

Series produced by Converge! Network Digest and sponsored by Gigamon.

What is AT&T's Indigo?

What is AT&T's Indigo?

Indigo is the convergence of software-defined networking, artificial intelligence, 5G and other new access technologies, says Steve McGaw, Chief Marketing Officer for AT&T Business Solutions.

First unveiled in January 2017 at the AT&T Developer Summit, Indigo is a "Network 3.0" initiative to create a trusted environment where organizations can share data and collaborate on analytics.

See video:

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.”

AT&T to Acquire FiberTower for 24 and 39 GHz Spectrum

AT&T confirmed its intention to acquire FiberTower, a privately-held company that holds an extensive spectrum footprint in 24 GHz and 39 GHz bands. Financial terms were not disclosed.

At the AT&T Innovation Summit in San Francisco, John Donovan, Chief Strategy Officer and Group President at AT&T, said the acquired spectrum assets will have advance the company's 5G plans.

AT&T Brings NetBond Connectivity to IoT Control Center

AT&T's IOT solutions are now part its NetBond Ecosystem, which brings IP/MPLS VPN connectivity to cloud services.

Enterprise customers will now be able use AT&T NetBond connectivity to reach the cloud-based AT&T Control Center, powered by Cisco Jasper, which helps businesses launch, manage and monetize IoT services.

The solution will give businesses highly secure connectivity to leading cloud service providers and to their own data centers. The connection travels through the AT&T Virtual Private Network (VPN), isolated from public internet risks. It also saves costs through work resources on demand, and consistent and predictable performance.

“The industry is growing rapidly with analysts forecasting there will be tens of billions of connected devices by 2020.  This acceleration will introduce new risks for businesses,” said Chris Penrose, President, Internet of Things Solutions, AT&T. “By integrating AT&T Control Center and AT&T NetBond, we can give businesses a robust and highly secure solution to address those risks.”

“AT&T NetBond isn’t just about connecting customers to their clouds. It offers simple, scalable, and highly secure software-defined connections for all businesses,” said Mo Katibeh, Senior Vice President, AT&T Advanced Solutions.  “Bringing our IoT solutions into AT&T NetBond keeps businesses’ critical IoT devices, workloads and information off of the public internet and on a private network. That brings inherent security and latency benefits at an incredibly affordable price.”

Verizon Completes XO Acquisition

Verizon completed its $1.8 billion purchase of XO Communications’ fiber-optic network business. The deal was first announced in February 2016. Network integration work begins immediately.

"This transaction with XO will bring significant benefits in how we deliver superior services to our customers," said John Stratton, Verizon executive vice president and president of Operations.  "XO’s fiber network will add ever greater capacity and reach to Verizon’s networks, a combination that will lead to enhanced capabilities, better services and faster rollout of next generation communication networks."

Separately, Verizon will simultaneously lease available XO wireless spectrum, with an option to buy XO’s entity that holds its spectrum by year-end 2018.

Nokia's Network Sales Down 14% in Q4

Nokia posted non-IFRS net sales in Q4 2016 of EUR 6.7bn (reported: EUR 6.6bn), down from the year-ago quarter when non-IFRS net sales would have been EUR 7.7bn on a comparable combined company basis (reported: EUR 3.6bn on a Nokia stand-alone basis).

Nokia's networks business declined 14% year-on-year net sales decrease in Q4 2016, reflecting challenging market conditions in Q4 2016 and the difficult comparison against the strong performance by Alcatel-Lucent in Q4 2015.

Nokia Technologies experienced a 25% year-on-year net sales decrease and 49% operating profit decrease in Q4 2016, primarily due to the absence of the Samsung arbitration award, which benefited Q4 2015.

Alcatel Submarine Networks posted strong sales in Q4.

Rajeev Suri, President and CEO of Nokia, stated: "At the start of the year, Nokia was focused primarily on mobile networks.  We ended the year as a company with a complete portfolio spanning mobile, fixed, routing, optical, stand-alone software and more; with solid opportunities to drive higher returns through expansion into new customer segments; with emerging businesses in digital health and digital media; and with greatly expanded patent and brand licensing activities."

"Pleasingly, we saw growing customer support for Nokia's strategy. Our sales pipeline with customers beyond our traditional communication service provider base accelerated over the course of the year, we saw an increasing share of our Networks pipeline coming from opportunities covering products and services from two or more of our business groups, and the potential of cross-selling started to become a reality."

"We also ended the year having successfully concluded the integration of Alcatel-Lucent faster than anticipated, allowing us to shift our full focus to cost savings, continuous improvement programs and the execution of our strategy."