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Verizon Readies Its Universal CPE

Craig Matsumoto

Verizon is outlining plans to deploy universal customer-premises equipment (uCPE), which could be a key step in the carrier's use of NFV to deliver customer-facing services.

Verizon Enterprise Solutions discussed the uCPE at last week's NFV World Congress and at this week's OpenStack Summit in Boston, and a formal announcement came out yesterday. Executives aren't giving a timeline for uCPE deployments.

Verizon envisions the uCPE hosting virtualized network functions (VNFs) for services such as software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN), security or branch routing. Providing those functions in software form would free the enterprise from having to install multiple appliances, Verizon points out in its release. The services could even be provided on a self-service basis. (See Verizon Launches Virtual Network Services and Verizon Using Ericsson Platform to Orchestrate Virtual Services.)

Of course, Verizon gets something out of it, too. Because the uCPE is a white box -- it's an off-the-shelf server, available in a few different sizes -- Verizon can stockpile one hardware design and ship it to multiple customers. The uCPE starts out bare-bones, loaded with the software needed to boot up and contact Verizon over a secure tunnel. It places that call upon installation and receives its configuration details.

Verizon isn't discussing the uCPE's software in detail -- but as you might infer from Verizon's OpenStack Summit appearance, it does take advantage of OpenStack.

Another carrier trying out a universal CPE is Orange Business Services , which presented on the idea at the MPLS, SDN and NFV World Congress in March. One challenge cited by Network Architect Stephane Litkowski was the expense of the effort, as Orange wanted the boxes to be inexpensive yet powerful enough to host services. (See Orange Kicks Off 'Universal CPE' Trials.)

— Craig Matsumoto, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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