Colt, Verizon will go live this year with cross-carrier Ethernet service

In what could be an industry first, Colt and Verizon will turn up a cross-carrier automated Carrier Ethernet service this year. (Pixabay)

After conducting a proof-of-concept trial earlier this March, Colt Technology services and Verizon will go live this year with two-way, intercarrier network orchestration across each other's networks.

Using a programmatic API-to-API interface between their separate SDN architectures, Colt and Verizon will use automation to provision a Carrier Ethernet service across their production networks.

During an event in London in March, Colt and Verizon demonstrated near real-time bandwidth changes in their live production networks.

RELATED: Verizon, Colt conduct 2-way intercarrier SDN orchestration trial

"We probably have three or four active projects to implement that type of interaction," said Colt's Mirko Voltolini, head of network on demand, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "The one with Verizon was well advanced in the PoC (proof of concept.) We'll probably have a second one (PoC) this year. I won't say with who but we'll aim to have something around September or August. We still need to productize this one with Verizon beyond the PoC."

Enabling cross-carrier automation of a wholesale service between two service providers has been a Holy Grail of using SDN, but it remains to be seen if Colt and Verizon will be the first to do so in a production environment. Epsilon and DCConnect announced last month that they would commercially deploy their two-way, intercarrier network orchestrations service in the third quarter of this year.

Cross-carrier, automated services across SDN architectures have been in the works for a few years. In 2016, Colt announced it was working on a trial for SDN interoperability with AT&T. That trial provisioned network services between AT&T's U.S. network and Colt's European network.

At MEF 17 last year, AT&T, Orange, Colt, and a handful of vendors showed a proof of concept demonstration using MEF's Lifecycle Service Orchestration Sonata software development kit (SDK) to provision Ethernet services across AT&T and Orange's SDN architectures.

At last year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, AT&T, Orange Business Services and Colt announced they had formed an orchestration partnership that would allow them to provide Carrier Ethernet services across each other's SDN architectures using TM Forum APIs and MEF LSO APIs.

"I think this is part of a much bigger transition to offer services between carriers," Voltolini said. "Maybe we'll do a couple PoCs this year if we can line up some other carriers to work with us. We have to choose the ones that have good SDN capabilities. Epsilon is a good one. DCConnect has a good infrastructure and a solid SDN implementation.

"You can count on the fingers on a pair of hands how many carriers that we can do this with. We'll do a couple this year and maybe a few more next year. Then we'll start to grow."

Colt is looking at provisioning on demand intercarrier optical and SD-WAN services, but Voltolini didn't say which service providers Colt might engage with for those trials

"What is important is we need to come up with a standard API definition," he said. "We have done lots of work with the MEF to define the API. That needs to be ratified and adopted in the market. We need to get that piece of work to a conclusion so we don't have to do things 20 times with 20 different suppliers.

"Carrier Ethernet is done and tested. We're now focusing on taking that into production. We're in discussions for an on optical on demand PoC so we can extend the optical services in an SDN fashion. That's something that could be different, but our focus right now is on getting some things into the real world so we can use them and benefit from them."