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AT&T Completes Next-Generation IP/MPLS Backbone Network, World’s Largest Deployment of 40-Gigabit Connectivity


Company Researchers Continue to Drive Future Network Evolution with Record-Setting 17 Terabit-Per-Second Capacity Test

Dallas, Texas.-The world’s most advanced, powerful IP network is open for business.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) today announced the completion of its transition of Internet Protocol (IP) traffic to a next-generation, consolidated IP/MPLS backbone network, which delivers a dramatic expansion in capacity to meet the ever-growing demand for IP connectivity from consumers and businesses. The new full-mesh optical platform includes the world’s largest deployment to date of 40-gigabit-per-second (Gbps) transport, the fastest backbone technology available today. The company’s entire U.S. ultra-long haul network — more than 80,000 fiber-optic wavelength miles — now uses this 40-gigabit network technology, known as OC-768.

Beyond the immediate capacity and performance benefits, the new AT&T backbone network is designed to provide a streamlined path for adopting future technologies as they are developed. Even as the new backbone is completed, AT&T Labs researchers and industry partners announced a breakthrough test using emerging 100-gigabit technologies to carry data totaling 17 terabits per second (Tbps) over a single strand of optical fiber, advancing the development of technology that could be applied to the AT&T network in the years to come.

The AT&T IP/MPLS backbone network serves as the foundation for all AT&T Internet and IP services, carrying traffic ranging from consumer broadband to wireless data to mission-critical enterprise applications such as unified communications, on-demand content services and utility computing. The network also carries substantial Internet traffic from around the world.

“Whether it’s watching video over the Internet, updating a blog from a wireless device or using applications on demand at work or remotely, the AT&T IP/MPLS backbone network is what enables all of that information to move across the country and across the globe,” said John Donovan, AT&T chief technology officer. “AT&T has invested billions in the research, development and deployment of advanced technologies to ensure that we’re able to stay ahead of our customers’ demand for Internet and IP applications, both today and in the years ahead.”

In addition to boosting capacity, the new network platform minimizes latency and enhances transport efficiency and reliability for all types of traffic, including the direct benefit for customers of AT&T’s Virtual Private Network and private line services. The backbone is designed and managed for maximum resiliency in the event of a natural or man-made disruption, including the ability to continue transport even if any single network link or node is disrupted.

The transition to next-generation technology is necessary for AT&T to stay ahead of explosive customer demand for Internet and IP-based services. In recent years, IP traffic on the AT&T backbone has grown about 60 percent year over year. By 2018, IP traffic on the AT&T network is projected to be a staggering 5,600 percent greater than what it is today. AT&T currently carries about 16 petabytes of total IP and data traffic on an average business day, the equivalent of a 2.5-megabyte music download for every man, woman and child on the planet.

AT&T has led industry development of 40-gigabit capabilities and began turning up 40-gigabit service in volume in its network in the second half of 2006 after completing multiple field trials. Today, AT&T Labs is playing a key role in developing future technologies for emerging 100-gigabit transmission capabilities. AT&T researchers, working with NEC Corporation of America and Corning Incorporated, recently completed a successful test of such technologies that demonstrated data transmission at 114 Gbps over each of 161 separate wavelength channels on a single optical fiber, transporting a total capacity of 17 Tbps over 622 kilometers. This new record for backbone transport capacity over fiber and optical amplifiers that are compatible with those used today is a major milestone in the development of 100-gigabit connectivity, which is expected to be fully developed over the next few years. Investment, research and leading-edge network management tools will be required to handle the growing demand for Internet capacity and applications.


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