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AT&T’s Plan for A Network of Edge Data Centres

As one of the world’s network giants, AT&T and their plans are always closely followed. Their continuous position as a leader of the market requires to stay on top of the latest technologies, resources and investment targets.

Because of this, whenever they make a new acquirement or plan a novelty idea, the whole industry takes note.

Their latest plans come as an early response to a new generation of technologies and applications that use plenty of computing data; virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and autonomous vehicles, to name a few, are all in the spectrum of modern inventions that consume massive amounts of cloud space. To manage with this load, AT&T are planning on building data centres at the edge of the network in highly populated areas.

The network will use pre-existing infrastructure, taking advantage of cell towers and telephone exchanges, as they are not only conveniently distributed, but are also connected to both data centres and other network nodes. These will then be equipped with the needed servers and switches on which to deploy the software.

Installing a new edge data network is part of AT&T’s plan to virtualise their network: by 2020, they aim to achieve 75% software defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualisation (NFV) adoption. Simply put, this means that the company is making their network more connected and communally easier to manage in preparation to 5G networking, which is slowly but surely becoming tomorrow’s reality.

In a press release on their site, AT&T state “we’re committed to deploying mobile 5G as soon as possible and we’re committed to edge computing. As we roll EC out over the next few years, dense urban areas will be our first targets, and we’ll expand from those over time.”

AT&T’s move is significant because it shows not only the technologies they believe will thrive in the future, but also the geographical location of their developments. Dashboard believes that moving to big cities, instead of continuing to set up in the rural areas to welcome 5G, will be a big trend in the coming years among both small and big providers.