AT&T's Sambar wants a machine to wrangle his network algorithms

  • AT&T president Chris Sambar said the operator is anticipating 5G-Advanced

  • He is keen on more AI-based network automation

  • Wants a machine to fix any broken software in the network realm

Brooklyn 6G Summit, New York – AT&T executive told the Brooklyn 6G Summit Wednesday that the operator is concerned with network automation and the launch of 5G-Advanced before it even gets to 6G, which will probably be sometime in 2030.

Chris Sambar, president of network at AT&T, told the audience at New York University’s Engineering School that the operator already had “a lot of algorithms” running on its network. AT&T pioneered self optimizing network (SON) technology: it started trialing the technology way back in 2012 and has moved a lot of the SON automation software to help manage and configure 5G networks.

The next step is to move to managing those algorithms with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), Sambar indicated.

“We have hundreds of these things now but if one breaks we have to go figure where it is, what server it’s sitting on, what’s wrong with it and how do we fix it,” Sambar said. “I would love a machine to manage that for me, that seems like a perfect job for a machine.”

During his talk, Sambar also suggested that using AI and ML for network management and automation will “save us hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars” in operating costs.

Sambar said that AT&T is excited about the advent of 5G-Advanced (otherwise known as 5.5G) ahead of 6G. The chatter around 5G-A is already starting to build up even though it won’t be on commercial networks until 2025.

Nonetheless, as Silverlinings has already reported, 5G-A will advance the case for software-driven, standalone, cloud-native cellular networks.

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