AT&T Aims to Virtualize 75 Percent of Network by 2020
Officials with the carrier are looking to accelerate the multi-year development of its ambitious software-defined cloud network.AT&T is looking to accelerate the development of its software-defined network, setting a goal of virtualizing and controlling more than 75 percent of its network using the new architecture by 2020. In a post on the company blog, John Donovan, senior executive vice president of technology and operations at AT&T, calls it "an ambitious target," particularly given that the carrier first announced its plans for the User-Defined Network Cloud during the Mobile World Congress in February. However, the pieces are being put in place to enable AT&T to hit the goal, Donovan said. It's not just talk," he wrote. "We have the right innovators and communities in place to hit our mark. We have collaborators on board with a shared vision. And we're already seeing the first customer benefits." AT&T is in the first year of an ambitious six-year plan to transform its network from one that relies on expensive, complex gear and copper wiring to one that is more based on software, driven by the principles of software-defined networking (SDN) and network-functions virtualization (NFV).
The goal is to create a networking infrastructure that is more efficient and cost-effective for the carrier, and will enable it to more quickly spin out new applications and services for customers. Upgrades to customer services will require updating the software rather than replacing hardware components.