Adtran Connect 2017: The Software-Defined Future of the Network


… call us and ask: ‘Can you please reduce our latency by 10 milliseconds?’ Gamers are getting very, very advanced. They know exactly what network to get on, and they actually go blog about that.” Moreover, Hussain says, this extrapolates out the wider customer base — you don’t need to be a hardcore gamer to have stringent expectations these days.

No, CenturyLink is not converting its entire network into an SDN tonight, or tomorrow. But Hussain says the company is slowly but surely morphing into a “platform for everyone,” a hybrid IT platform-centric approach that is more open, programmable, and automated.

During a day of concurrent breakout sessions for analysts and press, Adtran executives shared updates on the company’s own transformation and portfolio, and software was again a major player. Stanton shared, for instance, that 10 Tier 1 operators are currently trialing or using the company’s Mosaic software for SD access. Later, Jay Wilson, Adtran’s SVP for technology and strategy, noted that the firm, whose bread and butter has historically been in hardware, has been placing a significantly increasing emphasis on software.

“We’ve put a lot of investment in our company to be better at software,” Wilson said, adding that they’ve even adopted software-development trends such as continuous delivery in-house.

Among the related news Adtran revealed at the Connect event:

  • The company announced a Broadband Subscriber Management Suite for Mosaic that intends to help providers get out of the costly broad network gateway (BNG) router game in favor of software-centric tools that move subscriber management out toward the network’s edge. The suite joins Adtran’s Software Defined Service Edge portfolio.
  • CenturyLink has deployed a field trial of Adtran’s virtualized OTL 10G-PON software-defined access solution, a stepping stone (and U.S.-first deployment) in the software-oriented transformation Hussain described in his keynote.
  • Adtran announced it has successfully demonstrated non-service-impacting wavelength agility and ultra-low latency with its NG-PON2 solution, claiming a first in the NG-PON2 universe. The milestone is a key stop on the road to 5G and the proliferation of IoT sensors and devices, since it enables the reliability and resiliency necessary to support service-level agreements (SLAs) for even the most demanding applications. Previous PON tech was built for fiber-to-home deployments – not for 5G and the IoT era – and is not typically considered robust enough to meet SLA requirements.
  • Adtran is rolling out a Gigabit Accelerator Program designed to help service providers kick-start gigabit delivery, especially to rural areas. The program includes gigabit fiber-to-the-home starter kit, installation services, training, marketing support and access to gigabit community partners.
  • Managed services providers might take heed of the addition of the NG Firewall Powered by Untangle to ADTRAN’s existing ProCloud Subscription Services Suite, as a complement to the current menu of ProCloud Security offerings. The ProCloud suite is specifically designed to be delivered via MSP to end business customers with limited IT resources; Untangle is a cybersecurity firm that focuses on the “below enterprise” market, meaning: just about every kind of organization that fits the “limited IT resources” bill, from small businesses to schools and more.
  • Adtran’s services unit is rolling out SD-Access Accelerator, a bundle of software-defined access system-integration services with customizable Residential-Central Office Re-Architected- as-a- Datacenter (R-CORD) Point of Delivery (PoD) systems. (How’s that for acronyms?)

And, oh yeah, what about that whole 5G thing? It seemed to hover near much of the Tuesday discussion, and at times …

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