Orange testing AT&T’s open source ECOMP platform for building SDN capabilities
Global operator Orange plans to test AT&T’s platform for creating and managing a software-defined network. AT&T built this platform, called ECOMP, with a focus on making it accessible to other operators and cloud developers. AT&T has committed to releasing ECOMP as open source software in conjunction with the Linux Foundation.
“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,” said Chris Rice, SVP – Domain 2.0 Architecture and Design, AT&T. “Orange’s decision, as one of the leading international carriers in the world, is a great endorsement of that approach.”
“The analysis we conducted of ECOMP currently shows it to be highly agile and comprehensive, a testament to the commitment that AT&T has shown to address the key challenges that global service providers all face,” said Alain Maloberti, SVP Orange Labs Network at Orange.
“We jointly believe that a platform like ECOMP needs a strong and dynamic open source community to drive industry adoption, and we will work with AT&T to create a community to develop a reference software platform for automated network orchestration and management. We plan to start experiments with ECOMP firstly in a lab environment, to be followed by a field trial as part of our On-Demand Networks program.”
This supplements AT&T and Orange’s recent announcement that they will collaborate on open source and standardisation initiatives to accelerate the standardisation of software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualisation (NFV) technologies.
Orange is the first telecom company to join AT&T’s ECOMP effort. This helps to validate the software-centric vision AT&T adopted several years ago as a response to skyrocketing demand for network capacity. Data traffic on AT&T’s wireless network grew more than 150,000% between 2007 and 2015.
Businesses and consumers expect more out of their networks than ever before. And those demands are only going to increase over the next several years, as new applications like 4K video, virtual reality and augmented reality, and the Internet of Things take off.
When AT&T first started talking about a “software-centric network” back in 2014, many people were confused by the concept, says the company. But while the technology is complex, the concept is familiar. “For years, many of us carried individual gadgets for individual needs: a camera, a portable music player, a video camera, a video game machine.
Many of us have replaced those specialised devices with software apps running on a smartphone. It’s faster, more efficient, more upgradeable, and less expensive,” said a spokesperson. “AT&T is doing the same thing with all the specialised hardware appliances in our central offices. We’re virtualising them. Those routers and switches and firewalls are becoming virtual network functions running on standard servers. And we’re giving our customers online, software-based control of their own network services. That’s a software-centric network.”
ECOMP, which stands for Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy, is the software platform AT&T created to power its new network. ECOMP lets service providers quickly add features and drive down operations costs. It gives service providers and businesses anywhere more control of their network services, and enables developers to create new services.
Ultimately, consumers benefit because the network better adapts, scales and predicts how to make their connected experiences seamless. That means that all the cool network-enabled technologies coming in the next few years – from virtual reality to self-driving cars to 4K video – will run more smoothly.
*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.
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