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Carrier Grade vCPE: Making It Real



Guest Author:  Bjorn Baera, Head of Business Development, European Service Providers, RAD


 RAD_MWC_Blog.jpgAs long as virtualized networks were still being conceptualized and planned, conventional wisdom was that future physical customer premises equipment (CPE) will convert to a lean network interface. This made sense as long as the blueprint for virtualization was based on the assumption that all intelligence would be concentrated at the data center and the cloud.


As an early industry virtualization evangelist, RAD established and maintained a dialog on the subject with carriers and service providers right from the beginning. What we learned from our discussions was quite different. In fact, in many cases, they told us that they would actually require MORE functions at the customer premises than they have had until now with routers. They told us that they would need, for example, redundancy (specifically over LTE), performance monitoring, encryption and other security mechanisms, SD-WAN with hybrid access, tunneling, and additional tools to assure quality of experience (QoE) and competitiveness with web giants providing OTT applications. That being the case, the trimmed-down CPE, also known as a physical CPE (pCPE), will not fit many deployment use cases. It had to be re-thought.


This led to the development of virtual CPE (vCPE) software and hardware specifically designed for the customer premises that can serve as platforms for hosting the full gamut of applications operators will require as they smoothly roll out NFV-based business services. One option to meet the above requirements is to use a universal CPE (uCPE) as the customer-edge vCPE platform.  The underlay connectivity, control, and performance monitoring are provided by L2/L3 NTU (NID/router) element, while an Open vSwitch (OVS OpenFlow) agent is responsible for the overlay value-added services. Such an OVSDB/OVS/OpenFlow agent can also reside in a COTS server, allowing operators some much-needed flexibility in planning their service rollouts, while ensuring top quality of experience (QoE) for their customers.  This solution also enables dynamic bandwidth on demand allocation, using an SDN controller to re-configure bandwidth between sites to affect service quality, as well as flexible network expansion, adding new customer site to scale up the network. In addition to agile deployment of flexible SD-WAN overlay services, service providers also stand to benefit from OpEx reduction due to the fully automated solution. They can avoid vendor lock-in with the open source and standard APIs/tools, and employ policy-based networking to meet customer requirements and network status.


RAD will be talking about the challenges and benefits of vCPE live at Mobile World Congress in the MWC Discussion Zone on Tuesday, February 28, at 15:00. See the full MWC Discussion Zone agenda for more details on this and other sessions.

RAD will also be presenting a live demonstration of a carrier-grade SD-WAN solution, in conjunction with HPE. The demo will be held continuously at Mobile World Congress 2017 by RAD in Hall 5, Stand 5E81, Space 22.


hpe.com_csp_nfv.png CSPResources.jpg NFVResources.png @hpe_csp.jpg @hpe_nfv.png


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