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AT&T, VMware Building 5G Into SD-WAN Platform

5G

AT&T looks to marry 5G technology with software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN).

The company said Monday that it will integrate 5G capabilities into its SD-WAN platform and allow customers to use its 5G mobile network as a primary or secondary form of connectivity. 5G capabilities will help customers guide applications that run on the network “edge.” AT&T’s twofold vision entails defining an application’s connectivity path and setting policies for how traffic behaves on 5G.

AT&T's Roman Pacewicz

AT&T’s Roman Pacewicz

“Better intelligence means better outcomes for businesses. SD-WAN and 5G individually have the power to significantly transform a business,” said Roman Pacewicz, chief product officer of AT&T Business. “But when you put them both together, you open the door to insight on an entirely different level. With that comes new capabilities and opportunities that can help businesses innovate faster in the next phase of their transformation.”

AT&T already partners with VMware’s VeloCloud for SD-WAN. The telco giant says the offering will expand and “add 5G capabilities where it’s deployed.” AT&T’s announcement envisions SD-WAN neatly diverting different types of traffic into specific transport types, including the 5G network and landline broadband, based on latency needs.

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Sanjay Uppal, who runs the VeloCloud business unit, called the relationship with AT&T “a natural fit.”

VeloCloud's Sanjay Uppal

VeloCloud’s Sanjay Uppal

“We’re working together to connect the intelligent edge and prepare small business and enterprise customers to be in position to capture the advantages of 5G, using underlay intelligence to deliver the next application-level wide area network,” Uppal said.

VMware acquired VeloCloud in 2017, due in part to VeloCloud’s strong relationships with carriers like AT&T and Windstream.

“This buys them not only relationship with big telcos, but along with those relationships with telcos come those VAR relationships, and that’s them kind of getting into a market that they’re not in,” Matthew Toth told Channel Partners at the time of the purchase. “With that acquisition they buy technology; they buy a small customer list — but honestly, a negligible customer list. They buy relationships with telcos and they buy relationships with new VARs.”

One AT&T executive declared last year that 2019 “will be the year of 5G.” AT&T has been competing fiercely with Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint for 5G supremacy. The companies have traded announcements about trials, deployments and even network launches. Sprint on Monday said that it will announce a 5G wireless network in several major cities, according the Washington Post.

C3 recently announced a new SD-WAN solution created through a VeloCloud partnership.


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