Building the network of tomorrow

man using laptop

You’ve no doubt heard it before: To succeed in today’s rapidly changing marketplace, your company has to be agile.

It has to be ready in an instant to meet new customer demands. It must support almost constant innovation. It has to be able to deliver new services at a moment’s notice.

That’s a lot to ask of a network—and, usually, too much to ask of most hardware-centric networks. We’re asking a network model designed years ago for modest and predictable increases in voice traffic to adapt to high-definition communications and bandwidth-intensive services.

But there’s a new network model that’s fast, efficient, and flexible.  It’s a model developed in the IT world, where you emulate the functions of complex pieces of hardware with software run on off-the-shelf hardware.

It’s the model for the AT&T next-generation network, powered by technologies including software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV).

software defined networking chart

Here, I answer some of the most often-asked questions about SDN. I hope the information gives you insight into how SDN might benefit you and your business.

Q: What is software defined networking (SDN)?

A: It’s a new approach to network building. For more than a century, we have been offering our customers communication solutions through our telecom networks from the bottom up. Now, we are moving toward a top-down model that’s software centric and provides functionality and scalability on inexpensive standard hardware.

Q: Why should enterprises care about SDN?

A: The reality of a hardware-centric network path is unsustainable. Software-centric networks are the next natural phase of evolution for networks. Our approach to software-centric networking can ensure agility inside businesses, which is a critical focus today. It’s faster, cheaper, more reliable, flexible, scalable, and most importantly, it’s highly secure.

Q: How committed is AT&T to SDN?

A: We plan to virtualize 75 percent of our network by 2020. This means replacing acres of specialist switches, routers, and other physical gear. This is being rolled out on our network and on equipment found at our customers’ premises right now. Virtual functions can be provided in universal CPE and in the AT&T integrated cloud.

Q: Tell us more about the security aspect of SDN.

A: SDN enhances security. With the power of software, we are able to more quickly deploy updates when we detect an attack. What this means is that we can isolate and contain problems more easily to better protect our customers. In case of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, scaling the network in near real time means less disruption. We can deal with malicious traffic before it reaches your network.

Also, with AT&T VPN services, you can more securely connect many of the things that you rely on to run your business with the flexibility of the cloud. With AT&T NetBond®, these connections between your databases and cloud providers are made more secure, adaptive, and efficient than ever before.

Could a software-defined network help your business excel? Read more about how SDN can help you deliver more flexible services. Then find out more about SDN works with network function virtualization to help you build a faster, more efficient network.

Richard Tanner Director of Technical Solution Consultants AT&T Australia and New Zealand About Richard