AT&T’s Fuetsch signs on for another 2-year term at ONF

Andre Fuetsch, CTO of AT&T and president of AT&T Labs. (FierceTelecom)

SANTA CLARA, California — Andre Fuetsch, CTO of AT&T and president of AT&T Labs, was unanimously elected to another two-year term as chair the Open Networking Foundation (ONF). He’s been the ONF board chairman since September 2017.

At today’s ONF Connect conference Fuetsch said, “We’ve been on an amazing journey with this whole evolution around software-defined networking. In 2014 under John Donovan’s leadership, we said we were going to convert our network and move 75% of our functions and traffic to this new paradigm.” Fuetsch said the company is on track to reach this goal in 2020.

Just today, AT&T also announced that 75% of the data traffic running through its multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) tunnels is now under SDN control.

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Fuetsch took the opportunity at his ONF keynote to highlight some of the biggest projects within the ONF.

One project, Trellis, takes a collection of white box switches and turns it into a spine-leaf fabric for data centers. Fuetsch said Trellis software “is going into a large Tier 1 operator.” Although he didn’t name the Tier 1 operator, we can deduce that it’s probably Comcast. At last year’s ONF conference, Comcast VP of Network Architecture Rob Howald said the cable operator was evaluating Trellis. And Comcast is the only listed operator on the Trellis page of ONF’s website.


Fuetsch also called out ONF’s SEBA project. The SDN Enabled Broadband Access Program (SEBA) is dedicated to virtualizing broadband networks. Passive optical networks (PONs) are the first to use SEBA, but the ONF expects other types of access networks to eventually use SEBA as well. Those access networks could include DOCSIS and fixed wireless access.

AT&T has SEBA in field trials in Irving, Texas and Atlanta, Georgia. Fuetsch said about 500 homes are passed using the SEBA software for the trials. “It’s helping to deliver gigabit speeds to our customers, but it’s also technology that is access independent.”

Finally, Fuetsch called out the Stratum project, which the ONF just released under the Apache 2.0 open source license.

Stratum is a silicon-independent switch operating system for software-defined networks that runs on a variety of switching silicon and various white box switch platforms. Stratum makes integration of new devices into operators’ networks easier.

RELATED: Edgecore advances its white box ambitions, ‘embeds’ engineers in ONF projects

Fuetsch said Stratum is being demonstrated on a variety of white boxes from companies including Edgecore, Quanta, Stordis, Delta, and Inventech.

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