AT&T, Colt hope to accelerate SDN adoption with interoperability trial

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AT&T and Colt have created and tested a standard application programming interface (API) infrastructure with the aim of accelerating SDN adoption and interoperability between service providers.

RELATED: AT&T’s ECOMP platform being tested by Orange

The new trial demonstrated how the API can let SDN architectures from different network service providers interoperate with each other.

Testing two networks in the United States and Europe, AT&T provisioned network services between the East Coast of the U.S. and various locations in Europe. The two providers said that this allowed SDN-to-SDN control using a programmatic API-to-API interface between the separate SDN architectures, proving that SDN-managed services can be set up and run across multiple networks in just minutes.

During the trial, AT&T and Colt showed how services can also be managed and flexed in near-real time, creating a template for providers to deploy new services in a matter of minutes over each other's networks.

By using more open, standardized and software-centric network services, business customers would be able to get access to a series of on-demand, flexible, scalable network services.

What the proof of concept revealed was that business customers could reserve ports, order a point-to-point Ethernet service, scale bandwidth up and down, and turn down the service in near-real time.

The API trial integrates AT&T's and Colt's on-demand network capabilities. Although the trial was meant to illustrate how on-demand services can work on their networks, AT&T and Colt said they plan to share the network-to-network interface and open API code with standards bodies and industry forums.

AT&T’s collaboration with Colt is just one of many the telco is making to advance the use of SDN and virtual technologies throughout the greater telecom and communications industries.

In July, AT&T announced an agreement with Orange to collaborate on new open source activities related to SDN and NFV with a focus on developing new standards carriers can follow as they implement virtualization in their networks.

Using a network-centric approach, AT&T and Orange aim to make the SDN and NFV vision and benefits more accessible for both businesses by focusing on three main areas: creating common CPE that work in various service provider environments and interoperate with other software providers; streamlining the onboarding process for virtual network functions (VNFs) by introducing common guidelines and templates; and developing standardized APIs that will enable SDN architectures from different NSPs to interoperate with each other.