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AT&T looking at white boxes as CPE

Jim Duffy | June 17, 2015
AT&T is considering offering bare metal switches and servers to consumers as customer premises equipment for the carrier's services.

"We haven't gone public with where we are going with those," Fuetsch said. "Going forward with our Domain 2.0 architecture the real question is, who is going to be the main player that we end up using? That is still yet to be announced."

The biggest challenge in AT&T's two year Domain 2.0 SDN/NFV journey has been the change to traditional operational processes, Fuetsch says. Changing the network means changing all of the ways it was previously constructed, operated, managed, expanded and populated.

Also, AT&T combined its network and IT staffs into a 2,000-strong workforce dedicated to Domain 2.0.

"There's a lot of cultural inertia," Fuetsch said. "We've relied on the supply chain to be the integrators. Now that role is shifting to us. That has cultural implications. The network engineer of yesterday has to be a lot more software savvy for tomorrow. Network engineers and IT engineers speak different languages."

But at the same time, it's an exciting time in networking now that it's opening up.

"Its heyday is now," Fuetsch says. "Now that the network is opening up, we can do a lot of incredible things to take advantage. It really is a liberation into software. We're going to see a tremendous acceleration of innovation."


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