Hardware platform that hosts virtual CPE/SD-WAN solutions
Customer premises equipment (CPE) is an integral part of the service provider solution that resides at a customer site. These provider-owned, specialized devices use Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC)s to provide a variety of services. The problem with traditional CPE equipment is that it lacks flexibility and is costly. Installation and maintenance requires service providers to deploy network technicians which is time consuming and expensive.
Virtual and Universal CPE devices aim to reduce the costs, time required, and complexity to to deploy new network services.
So what’s the difference between vCPE and uCPE? It’s where the intelligence resides.
vCPE, or cloud CPE, utilizes a software-based solution that runs virtual network functions (VNF)s in a remote data center while the device at the customer site simple, inexpensive hardware. Because the devices are low-cost they are often not fast or powerful and can constrain some more complex services.
Universal customer premise equipment (uCPE) is also a software-based solution that runs VNFs, but it does so at the customer site. The device is a remotely manageable platform on which hosted service providers can easily deploy, modify or delete VNFs at customer’s sites over Wide Area Networks (WAN). uCPE devices are still commodity hardware based, but typically more powerful since the VNF’s run at the customer site.
Why the need for uCPE? Service providers needed a way to enable customers to use a single x86 server to mix and match software-based virtual network functions (VNFs) depending on what functions are needed at each customer location. This enables service providers a way to provide customers the full benefits of NFV.
Ultimately, this architecture helps service providers simplify customer site deployments by replacing a panoply of dedicated appliances with virtual network functions (VNFs) running on a single, universal platform.
- Advantech: FWA-1010VC Universal Network Appliance
- Ciena: Ciena 3906mvi Service Virtualization Switch
- Juniper Networks: Juniper NFX250 Network Services Platform
- Mushroom Networks: Truffle
- RAD: vCPE Toolbox
- Talari Networks: Talari SD-WAN Solutions