AT&T to trial 400 Gigabit Ethernet services in 2017

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AT&T intends to be the first in the industry to demonstrate 400 Gigabit Ethernet services across its production network, and will launch trials for business customers in early 2017.

The US service provider reported that data traffic on its network grew more than 150,000 per cent between 2007 and 2015, and continues to increase. The introduction of 400GbE is a natural progression, the company says.

“Although there have been efforts focused on 400 Gigabit Ethernet viability and industry standards over the past couple of years, we are excited to be the first to implement a pilot,” said Rick Hubbard, senior vice president, AT&T Network Product Management. “400GbE has the potential to transform how our largest retail and wholesale customers manage their networks today.”

The 400 Gigabit Ethernet testing will be performed in three phases using optical equipment from vendors Coriant and Ciena, as well as open source software. AT&T has been proactive in applying software-defined concepts to its network evolution, and promoting open source initiatives, such as CORD (Central Office Re-architected as a Datacenter) and OpenROADM.

Phase 1 will demonstrate that AT&T’s nationwide network is 400G-ready. Optical gear from Coriant will be used to carry a true 400GbE service across a long-distance span of AT&T’s global backbone from New York to Washington.

Phase 2 will show how the network can transport 400GbE to serve customers in a metro area. Using coherent optical transport equipment from Ciena, AT&T will carry a 400GbE service on a single 400G wavelength across its OpenROADM metro network.

In the third and final phase, AT&T will test the first instance of a 400GbE open router platform. The “disaggregated router” platform uses merchant silicon and open source software – another industry first, the service provider asserts.

AT&T hasn’t named its partners for the third part of the trial, but it’s worth noting that Coriant has also been developing an architecture based around disaggregating routers (see Coriant outlines new vision for IP-optical integration).

 

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