AT&T is beefing up its FlexWare platform with additional network connectivity and security applications, with its key supplier Ericsson being named as its first large-scale customer.
FlexWare, which was launched in 2016, is being made available in 200 countries worldwide. This is an increase over 153 countries in October, and has been "sold" to over 2,000 large and small business customers.
Customers that use the service can gain the benefits of NFV with a broader array of connection types from either AT&T or its set of global service provider partners. Network connectivity options include Ethernet, VPN (MPLS), dedicated internet as well as broadband. This broad set of options makes it possible for AT&T FlexWare to easily integrate with any network in any global location.
The increased availability of FlexWare comes with high reliability. In the U.S., FlexWare has redundancy options, including wireless backups, if primary communication networks are disabled.
Besides offering a larger array of network access options, the service provider added three new virtual security options.
In addition to Fortinet self-managed and AT&T-managed firewall options, the service provider now offers security options from Palo Alto Networks and Check Point. The Palo Alto Networks platform is either managed by AT&T or self-managed, while the Juniper and Check Point platforms come in self-managed configurations.
Being able to also sign up Ericsson for the expanded FlexWare platform is significant in that it illustrates that the service is resonating with large-scale customers. Ericsson will implement FlexWare in four main regions: The U.S., Latin America, Middle East and Europe. Virtualizing its network services with AT&T FlexWare will enable Ericsson adapt its network to changing business needs in near real-time, while lowering its total cost of network ownership.
Ericsson can roll out AT&T FlexWare to many global sites quicker than the traditional appliances built for a single purpose.
The advancement of FlexWave also ties in with AT&T’s network virtualization efforts. In February, AT&T set a goal to equip 55% of its network with software by the end of 2017.