From next-gen to now: SDN, White Box and Open Source go mainstream

by Andre Fuetsch, AT&T

It feels like just yesterday that we were drafting our strategy and defining our terms for a network built on software. At its heart, the idea was familiar to almost everyone. Just like you’d replaced your calculator, watch, music player, handheld video game system and other gadgets with apps on your phone, we wanted to do the same thing with the routers, firewalls and other equipment in our network and turn them into apps running on servers.

And that journey is almost complete.

Today, software-defined networking, or SDN, isn’t a vision, a goal, or a promise. It’s a reality. By the end of next year, 75% of our network functions will be fully virtualized and software-controlled. Just yesterday, we announced that 75% of the data traffic running through our multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) tunnels, which connect the core elements of our network together, is now under SDN control.

The software-defined network is here. Now. While there’s still plenty of work to be done, the strategy has been validated.

We didn’t do this alone. In fact, we always knew this would be a collaboration with the developer community.

Today, I’m speaking at the Open Networking Foundation’s Connect 2019 conferencein Silicon Valley, and I’m amazed at the rapid progress and great work this group has achieved to help make SDN a reality.

Projects like TrellisSEBAOMECStratum, and P4 are redefining what a modern network looks like.

For example, SEBA, or Software-Enabled Broadband Access, is about delivering gigabit-plus, low-latency home internet access via white box hardware to enable services such as augmented reality for consumers. We currently are offering the capability to 500 homes in the U.S., and plan to scale up in 2020 and beyond, as do other service providers around the world. ONAP is powering these deployments.

Software-defined networking, white box hardware, and open source software. Coming together to change how the world is connected.

Welcome to the future.

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