AT&T, ONF to integrate multigigabit PON with ONAP

AT&T MDU install - running wiring to apartments
AT&T synch up to integrate SDN-based open source capabilities with ONAP. (AT&T)

AT&T and the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) have kicked off a collaboration to integrate the ONF’s work on multigigabit PON with ONAP.

The two organizations will also begin work to integrate VOLTHA (Virtual Optical Line Termination Hardware Abstraction), the open source software stack powering PON networks, with ONAP.

This work is part of a broader effort to develop virtualized and disaggregated network access architectures for PON networks.

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RELATED: AT&T releases VOLTHA into the ONF community, drives focus on cloud-based XGS-PON

“Collaboration and openness across AT&T, the ONF and VOLTHA teams will be key to bringing this 10 Gbps broadband network to customers faster," said Igal Elbaz, SVP of wireless network architecture and design at AT&T, in a release. "Now that we've proven the viability of open access technology in our trials, we can start the integration with our operations and management automation platform—ONAP."

But this is not just based on science experiment baked in a lab.

AT&T previously conducted an XGS-PON trial using 10 Gbps XGS-PON leveraging Open Source Access Manager Hardware Abstraction (OSAM-HA) software in Atlanta and Dallas.

For the trials, the telco leveraged Open Source Access Manager Hardware Abstraction (OSAM-HA) software in Atlanta and Dallas, the work with ONF will help orchestrate the entire end-to-end network through ONAP instead of deploying islands of technology that have SDN control.

The telco’s current XGS-PON trial is testing multigigabit high-speed internet traffic and providing a AT&T DirecTV Now video experience to trial participants. A key challenge for AT&T was being able to interoperate with existing services like its U-Verse IPTV service.

To build the XGS-PON network trial foundation, AT&T used several open-source software components:

AT&T Open XGS-PON OLT: An OCP Accepted white box optical line terminal (OLT).

ONOS: The ONF SDN controller that hosts virtual OLT control applications.

vBNG: A virtual broadband network gateway application to manage subscribers.

VOLTHA: An ONF software project that provides hardware abstraction and a highly available SDN driver for OLT devices.

VOLTHA, the software powering the PON network trials, was developed by an ONF project community and used the latest in DevOps development techniques to enable rapid prototyping and accelerated delivery to the field trial. AT&T's Foundry in Atlanta developed the vBNG software and AT&T provided overall system integration and field operations for the trial.

In October, AT&T put the VOLTHA 1.0 software-defined access specification into the ONF, providing a framework to have XGS-PON access in the cloud. The service provider said that the use of open hardware and software designs allows it to accelerate the speed of innovation and get services to customers faster.

VOLTHA is the first major open source software release that provides the “brain” for XGS-PON technology. Additionally, it reflects AT&T’s move toward open source software and SDN/NFV frameworks.

AT&T told FierceTelecom that it will place its attention for its last-mile PON architecture in 2018 to ensure efficiency for its operations team. The service provider expects the architecture for XGS-PON to be operational by 2019.

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