AT&T is making a rather nerdy announcement Tuesday about "white box" networking gear, but it's actually a rather big deal. Last week, the company started putting real network traffic onto hardware that it put together from a variety of chip, hardware and software partners. The test network gear comes in a couple flavors and was placed in San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Who is involved: AT&T is working with a tiny software start-up SnapRoute, which was started by a bunch of ex-Apple employees. Chip partners include Barefoot Networks, Broadcom, and Intel, while units of Delta Electronics and Edgecore Networks assembled the gear to AT&T's specifications.

Who is on the outside looking in: Traditional network gear makers Cisco and Juniper Networks aren't part of this and risk losing out on some serious business down the road unless they get a lot cheaper and more open, as this opens the door for AT&T to make its own networking gear.

Why it matters: Not only can white box gear be a lot cheaper to install, support and service, but AT&T also has far greater visibility into what's going on inside. With the test gear, AT&T executives say they can literally see what is happening with each packet of data, allowing for greater security as well as potentially opening the door to new lines of business. AT&T CTO Andre Fuetsch compared the increased visibility to the difference between an X-Ray and an MRI.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand confirmed Thursday there are now 13 local cases linked to the four who tested positive for COVID-19, ending 102 days with no community spread. Auckland locked down Wednesday for 72 hours and the rest of NZ is under lesser restrictions.

By the numbers: Over 749,400 people have died of the novel coronavirus globally and over 20.6 million have tested positive, per Johns Hopkins. More than 12.8 million have recovered from the virus.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 20,624,316 — Total deaths: 749,421— Total recoveries: 12,831,800Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 5,197,147 — Total deaths: 166,027 — Total recoveries: 1,714,960 — Total tests: 63,252,257Map.
  3. Politics: Pelosi says Mnuchin told her White House is "not budging" on stimulus position.
  4. Business: U.S. already feeling effects of ending unemployment benefits.
  5. Public health: U.S. records deadliest coronavirus day of the summer — America's two-sided COVID-19 response
  6. Education: New Jersey governor allows schools to reopenGallup: America's confidence in public school system jumps to highest level since 2004.

Bob Woodward's new book details letters between Trump and Kim Jong-un

Bob Woodward during a 2019 event in Los Angele. Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images

Journalist Bob Woodward has obtained "25 personal letters exchanged" between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for his new book, "Rage," publisher Simon & Schuster revealed on Wednesday.

Details: In the letters, "Kim describes the bond between the two leaders as out of a 'fantasy film,' as the two leaders engage in an extraordinary diplomatic minuet," according to a description of the book posted on Amazon.