AT&T added Humax Americas to its list of managed customer premises equipment (CPE) suppliers for the carrier’s video and broadband business.
Humax will support AT&T’s work in adding software control to its consumer and enterprise CPE products. AT&T previously recognized Humax as one of eight companies with a supplier excellence award in 2016.
Humax was founded in 1989, and today it focuses mostly on consumer and enterprise gateway products.
AT&T has been pushing for greater CPE control through various efforts tied to disaggregating network hardware and software. AT&T launched its Domain Supplier program in 2009 under the Domain 1.0 tag as a platform to develop software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV). The program targeted “a more collaborative relationship with a few select equipment and software suppliers in eight network ‘domains’.”
The carrier followed up with Domain 2.0 in 2013, which placed a greater emphasis on bringing in new partners. Those new partners included Ericsson, Tail-F Systems, Affirmed Networks, Metaswitch Networks, Amdocs, and Juniper Networks.
More recently, the carrier acquired the Vyatta assets of Brocade Communications, including the Vyatta vRouter. AT&T said the Vyatta assets would advance its software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) agenda.
VCPE Market to Boom
IDC in a recent report described software-controlled CPEs as core to delivering virtual multi-tenant commodity infrastructure. This is being provided under the adage of NFV infrastructure at the network edge.
“Instead of several physical appliances at the network edge, virtual CPE aims to leverage several virtual network functions [VNFs] on a single virtualized commodity hardware box,” the firm explained.
IDC predicts the vCPE software market will surge from $145.7 million in 2016, to $2 billion in 2021, growing at a 68.3 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR). The vCPE hardware market is forecast for a more explosive 76.4 percent CAGR, surging from $67.8 million in 2016, to $1.16 billion in 2021.
“A strong business case exists for [NFV] at the network edge – the deployment of virtual CPE/VNF software on commodity hardware,” said Rajesh Ghai, research director at IDC, in the report. “While the short-term business benefit may be in the form of lower acquisition costs, the long-term business case rests on the advantages that accrue from simplicity, flexibility, and agility that it bestows on the enterprise or the service provider delivering the network service.”