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AT&T to Deploy More than 60k White Box Routers in Cell Towers

5 months ago
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AT&T to Deploy More than 60k White Box Routers in Cell Towers Image Credit: AT&T

AT&T announced its intention to widely deploy white box routers for its upcoming 5G cellular network.

The Operator said it will deploy more than 60,000 white box routers in cell towers across the U.S. over the next several years. AT&T wants to transition from the traditional, proprietary routers that sit inside these structures to new hardware that’s built around open standards and can be quickly upgraded via software. 

A year ago, AT&T announced its first successful trial with white box equipment and has since expanded with additional trials this year.

These white box routers run AT&T's 'Disaggregated Network Operating System,' or dNOS. AT&T built this platform in part using technology and expertise we acquired with the Vyatta unit we bought last year. dNOS is the network operating system for white boxes.

Orchestrating these dNOS-powered white box machines is ONAP, or Open Network Automation Platform. ONAP is an operating system for the network cloud.

In addition, AT&T is also working to integrate the Open Networking Foundation’s work on VOLTHA, the software powering our future XGS-PON broadband network, into ONAP. Passive optical networks like XGS-PON promise internet speeds up to 10 Gbps. By integrating VOLTHA within ONAP, AT&T aims to expand trials into more cities and bring the service to customers more quickly.

Andre Fuetsch, CTO and President, AT&T Labs
We’re no longer constrained by the capabilities of proprietary silicon and feature roadmaps of traditional vendors. We’re writing open hardware specifications for these machines, and developing the open source software that powers these boxes. This means faster hardware upgrades, since anyone can build to these specs.

Ray is a news editor at The Fast Mode, bringing with him more than 10 years of experience in the wireless industry.

For tips and feedback, email Ray at ray.sharma(at)thefastmode.com, or reach him on LinkedIn @raysharma10, Facebook @1RaySharma

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