AT&T touts success of Domain 2.0 open network, white box efforts

Jan. 30, 2023
The company has leveraged the strategy to achieve improvements in its 5G and fiber broadband infrastructure, AT&T Vice President, Network Core Infrastructure Services Mike Satterlee asserted.

AT&T Vice President, Network Core Infrastructure Services Mike Satterlee has penned a blog that appeared on the company’s website January 26, 2023, in which he described the successes the service provider has seen from its Domain 2.0 vision and the open and disaggregated network and white box concepts that underpin it. The company has leveraged the strategy to achieve improvements in its 5G and fiber broadband infrastructure, he asserted.

The service provider released a whitepaper that outlined the Domain 2.0 initiative in November 2013. Domain 2.0 was created to help AT&T operate its networks more like the cloud-enabled infrastructures of hyperscale data center operators and internet content providers. Such networks, as AT&T envisioned them, would feature a library of APIs that manage, manipulate, and consume services on-demand and in near real time. Common infrastructure would be used as much as possible. Software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV) would be key enablers, enabling the use of white box hardware and best-of-breed technology and platforms from multiple vendors.

Following on, AT&T announced a white box strategy in 2019, which included development of white box routers and switches. (The company also revealed a commitment to 400G deployment at the same time.) Deployment of next-gen open disaggregated core routing and next-gen open disaggregated IP edge routing platforms followed in 2020.

Today, Satterlee writes, AT&T is reaping the benefits for both 5G and fixed broadband infrastructure. For example, AT&T now carries more than 52% of all production traffic over its next-gen core routers. The platforms are based on the Broadcom Jericho2, Ramon chips and use the Distributed Dis-Aggregated Chassis (DDC) design powered by DriveNets Network Cloud DNOS software (see "AT&T deploys DriveNets Network Cloud for core routing with white boxes"). The service provider is investigating how to scale the system to first 500 Tbps and then to 900 Tbps via what Satterlee described as “next-gen chipset.”

Satterlee also described four other open platforms that are playing important roles in AT&T’s network:

  1. Next-Gen Edge Router for enterprise services, Ethernet, broadband, mobility, and internet gateway purposes. It uses hardware from Broadcom, Cisco, and UfiSpace. AT&T has deployed the platform in its production internet peering network.
  2. Cell Site Gateway Router, which supports up to 100 Gbps of transport to support 5G services. The platform uses hardware from UfiSpace, Broadcom Qumran-AX chips, and Vyatta NOS software from Ciena.
  3. An Ethernet Mux that enables aggregation of 1- and 10-Gbps access ports to 100-Gbps transport in AT&T’s metro Ethernet and fiber networks. The platform is based on Broadcom’s Qumran-MX chips and uses EdgeCore hardware with Ciena’s SAOS Network Operating System software.
  4. Universal CPE that supports delivery of dedicated internet and enterprise SD-WAN services. The equipment uses Intel, Broadcom, Marvell, and Silicom technology to create a device running on Vyatta NOS software from Ciena.

Satterlee also cited the Open ROADM effort to enable open, high-speed, and high-capacity optical transport for both fiber-based broadband and 5G backhaul. He reported that components compliant with Open ROADM from such companies as Ciena, Cisco, Fujitsu, Infinera, and Nokia have found homes in more than 75 nodes in AT&T’s production network in support of 100G and 400G wavelengths.

“We are continuing to develop the open and disaggregated ecosystem to enable more advanced management capabilities and additional use cases. The task now is to unlock its full potential and make its capabilities more consumable and flexible for our customers,” concluded Satterlee. “Our customers’ demand for connectivity isn’t slowing down, and neither are we.”

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About the Author

Stephen Hardy | Editorial Director and Associate Publisher, Lightwave

Stephen Hardy is editorial director and associate publisher of Lightwave and Broadband Technology Report, part of the Lighting & Technology Group at Endeavor Business Media. Stephen is responsible for establishing and executing editorial strategy across the both brands’ websites, email newsletters, events, and other information products. He has covered the fiber-optics space for more than 20 years, and communications and technology for more than 35 years. During his tenure, Lightwave has received awards from Folio: and the American Society of Business Press Editors (ASBPE) for editorial excellence. Prior to joining Lightwave in 1997, Stephen worked for Telecommunications magazine and the Journal of Electronic Defense.

Stephen has moderated panels at numerous events, including the Optica Executive Forum, ECOC, and SCTE Cable-Tec Expo. He also is program director for the Lightwave Innovation Reviews and the Diamond Technology Reviews.

He has written numerous articles in all aspects of optical communications and fiber-optic networks, including fiber to the home (FTTH), PON, optical components, DWDM, fiber cables, packet optical transport, optical transceivers, lasers, fiber optic testing, and more.

You can connect with Stephen on LinkedIn as well as Twitter.

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