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What happened to vCPE’s Original Promise?
When NFV and SDN were first introduced, they held the promise of a true revolution – nimble networks, automated service rollouts and general purpose, low-cost white boxes replacing dedicated appliances – straight out of IT operations. Most importantly, there’d be no more vendor lock-in, allowing service providers to choose whichever elements they desire, be it a server, VNF or an orchestrator. Five years on and vCPE-based business services remain at the top of carriers’ agenda, but some aspects of the new technology have proven to be more difficult to realize than others.
What is stopping Operators from getting on the SDN/NFV Bandwagon NOW?
White boxes, for example, lack many OAM functions and connectivity options that were not needed in the IT world, but are most definitely required by operators and cannot always be virtualized. Appliance VNF prices are still high and many vendor offerings are in effect walled gardens. In other words, the revolution is here and is destined to bring true value, but there are some gaps that prevent operators from getting on the SDN/NFV bandwagon now.
One such gap is universal access, which in effect bars service providers that have any access infrastructure other than fiber Ethernet from using economical white boxes to deliver virtualized services, such as vSD-WAN, vRouter, or vEncryption to their customers. Other gaps include the lack of enhanced performance monitoring and diagnostics, legacy TDM service support, and 1588 timing synchronization. There may be solutions to all these issues, but they require multiple, separate boxes (typically from the same vendor to ensure interoperability), each with its own management and orchestration.
That is why we came up with the vCPE Toolbox
After analyzing carrier needs vis-à-vis current gaps, we developed a toolbox for the customer edge that we believe provides everything service providers need to roll out carrier-grade, NFV/SDN-based business services today: white box hardware options and pluggable devices, a powerful and slim operating system and a VNF ecosystem, as well as performance monitoring, management and orchestration tools. It’s modular and open to fit any vendor solution component – VNFs, hardware platforms and orchestrators. As their needs change, service providers can change elements in the future accordingly.
If you’d like to see the vCPE Toolbox in action, check out the demo video below.
vCPE is here to stay. It’s time service providers enjoy true freedom in selecting the best solutions that fit their needs and avoid vendor lock-in.
About RAD's Blog
We’ll be blogging on a wide range of hot topics affecting service providers and critical infrastructure network operators. Our resident experts will be discussing vCPE, Cyber Security, 5G, Industrial IoT and much, much more.