Orange backs AT&T's SDN platform to drive virtualisation strategy

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Orange is testing AT&T's software defined network platform ECOMP as it looks to grow its virtualisation strategy.

The two operators are already working together on open source initiatives to speed up SDN and network function virtualisation standardisation.

AT&T said it created ECOMP, which stands for Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy, to prepare it for a more software-enabled world that will power the likes of virtual reality, self-driving cars and 4K video.

It said that between 2007 and 2015, data traffic grew by 150,000 percent on its network.

Using ECOMP, operators can quickly add, control and create new network services. AT&T claims the platform helps networks to adapt and scale much quicker. The American operator has virtualised all specialised hardware appliances in its central offices, making routers, switches and firewalls virtual network functions on standard servers.

Alain Maloberti, Senior Vice President Orange Labs Network at Orange, said: “The analysis we conducted of ECOMP currently shows it to be highly agile and comprehensive, a testament to the commitment that AT&T has shown to address the key challenges that global service providers all face.

“We jointly believe that a platform like ECOMP needs a strong and dynamic open source community to drive industry adoption, and we will work with AT&T to create a community to develop a reference software platform for automated network orchestration and management. We plan to start experiments with ECOMP firstly in a lab environment, to be followed by a field trial as part of our On-Demand Networks program.”

Chris Rice, Senior Vice President - Domain 2.0 Architecture and Design, AT&T, added: “ECOMP is a stake in the ground. It’s a declaration that networks of the future will be software-centric, that they’ll be faster, more responsive to customer needs, and more efficient. Orange’s decision, as one of the leading international carriers in the world, is a great endorsement of that approach.”