BT teams up with Dell EMC to research the networks of the future

BT has revealed a major new research deal as it looks to help create the enterprise networks of the future.

The telecoms giant is set to work with Dell EMC to launch a new research collaboration that will see BT trial the use of standard open network switches to form more flexible networks.

Previously only used it Dell EMC data centre systems, the switches, combined with special switching software, will allow BT to develop the more flexible and agile networks demanded by an increasing number of its customers.

BT will now carry out a trial at its Adastral Park facility near Ipswich to compare Dell EMC's disaggregated switches against its own traditional integrated switching hardware, allowing it 'to test the performance, economics and programmability of this new, virtualised approach.                           

The tests will include a number of potential use cases for the technology, including NFV (network functions virtualisation) and programmable silicon - including the ability to deliver real-time network operational data to customers.

The trial platform could also be used to tailor the bandwidth of an Ethernet circuit according to customer needs to be larger or smaller at certain times (a process known as bandwidth calendaring), and automatically and speedily providing network telemetry data to third parties.

Neil J. McRae, chief architect for BT said, “This proof-of-concept trial with Dell EMC will enable us to evaluate the performance of disaggregated switches against traditional integrated network switches, and make informed decisions about the role this kind of solution will play in the dynamic network services of the future. We’re determined to ensure that BT’s network continues to be world-class and able to deliver the services our customers need, when and how they need them. Agility and programmability, maximising the benefits of SDN, are therefore key to our future network evolution.”

“The service provider network of tomorrow cannot be built on yesterday’s technology,” said Tom Burns, senior vice president & general manager, Dell EMC networking, enterprise infrastructure & service provider solutions. “We’re energised and focused on collaborating with BT to drive innovation and help achieve their goals of enhancing network agility, flexibility and programmability to provide the high level of service their customers expect.”