Companies collaborate to bring businesses more intelligence, application-aware networking at the edge 

AT&T* is working with VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud to implement 5G capabilities into our SD-WAN to give businesses new levels of network control. This transformative combination could be an ideal solution for businesses looking to use SD-WAN with a high-speed, low-latency 5G network as their primary or secondary WAN connection type in combination with other transport connections.

AT&T recently introduced the first mobile 5G network in the U.S. As businesses continue on their path to 5G, we’ve been working to introduce new ways for them to use faster networks to get ready for the transformative 5G network. As part of that path, we can now offer SD-WAN services that work with our nationwide AT&T Wireless Broadband offering. AT&T Wireless Broadband is part of our Fixed Wireless pillar in our strategy to bring 5G to businesses. Businesses will now be able to use SD-WAN with AT&T’s nationwide cellular network for the first time, and can easily upgrade to 5G when it’s ready through a simple modem change. 

AT&T SD-WAN helps businesses gain greater flexibility by enabling them to select network technologies on a site-by-site basis—like VPN, wired internet, and cellular — with the ability to mix and match SD-WAN and non-SD-WAN sites. Businesses will be able to use SD-WAN to control the priority of their business traffic moving over the wireless broadband network– enabling mission-critical applications (like a point-of-sale system) to be prioritized. 

Next Step: SD-WAN and 5G Together 

This eventual combination of technologies will mark the first time that control will be built into both the software (SD-WAN) and the transport (the cellular network). Before, SD-WAN was the point of intelligence in application-aware networking for a business. It would tell each application what transport to use, and the transport would simply carry it out. With software-defined networking extending into the cellular network, this intelligence can now be applied to the transport as well: traffic can be prioritized by device or application. 

“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, 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 and VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud are a natural fit, with a long history of working together to bring next-gen, enterprise-grade solutions to customers,” said Sanjay Uppal, vice president and general manager, VeloCloud Business Unit, VMware. “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.” 

SD-WAN already brings more agility, cost-effectiveness and application performance for businesses. Combined with our 5G network as it’s deployed, business customers will have the flexibility to manage the applications running on the edge of the network. AT&T SD-WAN will then work on two levels – telling the applications what transport to use and controlling the policies for traffic moving over 5G. This will help enable an optimized and more efficient network experience, tailored to the customers’ specific needs. 

As we look to the future, SD-WAN could divide traffic so that all the manufacturing floor traffic goes over fixed wireless using a deployed 5G network, while keeping general office (web browsing) traffic on landline broadband. Within the manufacturing floor traffic, the 5G network could isolate one slice of network to handle shop floor robotics that rely on ultra-low latency, while running less time-sensitive edge computing across a parallel path at the same time.

AT&T plans to extend its current SD-WAN offerings with these new solutions provided by VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud, and to add 5G capabilities where it’s deployed.