As described, vCPE and SD-WAN technology covers a lot of potential network scenarios and use cases. So how do we differentiate between vCPE, SD-WAN and VNFs and where will the technologies be installed? We might want to think of them as different groups of functionality filling in different pieces of a larger SD-WAN. Here are some definitions below:
vCPE: vCPE technology is used to allow proprietary hardware and software to be replaced with standardized software at the customer edge, potentially virtualizing the CPE equipment used to access a network.
SD-WAN: The SD-WAN extends beyond the virtual CPE, into the core of the WAN or service-provider network. It enables service providers and enterprises to leverage vCPE technology to create fully managed VNFs, which may also integrate links using the Internet and private networks, such as MPLS. Typically, the SD-WAN also includes controller technology that separates the data plane from the control plane.