SANTA CLARA – Open Networking Summit – AT&T has broken down a barrier with a coast-to-coast trial of white box switching that took less than three months to implement.

The domestic white box field trial, which AT&T believes to be a first in the telecom industry, is notable on several fronts, according to Andre Fuetsch, president of AT&T Labs and chief technology officer, AT&T.

“This is more than just about lowering cost and achieving higher performance,” Fuetsch said during a Tuesday morning keynote at the Open Networking Summit. “Frankly that’s table stakes. This is really about removing barriers, removing layers. [It’s about] removing all of that internal proprietary API stack that we’ve lived with on these legacy IT systems. Now we can bypass all of that and go straight to ONAP.”

In order to implement the white box switch trial, Fuetsch said AT&T teamed up with “disruptive vendors.” Barefoot Networks, Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM), Delta Electronics, Edgecore Networks, Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) and SnapRoute provided the standardized hardware and open source software that powered the white box switches.

At one location of the field trial, Delta’s Agema AGC7648A switch used Broadcom Qumran silicon chips and the SnapRoute network operating system. A second location used Edgecore’s Wedge 100BF systems built using Barefoot’s 6.5 Tb/s Tofino silicon whose forwarding plane was specified using the P4 open source programming language to perform standard switching and routing and In-band Network Telemetry (INT) functionality.