NFV Elements

Juniper & vCPE – Keeping It Simple

For all of its undeniable promise, today's NFV technology comes with a serious downside: It's really complicated. Not just Taylor Swift's love life complicated, mind you. No, we're talking about a level of byzantine intricacy up there with the European Union legislative process.

That complexity is a problem for service providers that want to monetize new, virtualized services at exactly the time that they are also being told to cut back on the kind of expensive technical staff who like nothing more than trouble shooting new and bleeding-edge technology.

And the problem escalates to critical levels when the virtual service they are looking to launch is designed to connect customer premises over cloud (a.k.a. "vCPE service"), which by definition will be configured by less savvy enterprises and remote office end-users.

Light Reading's latest independent lab test of Juniper's Cloud CPE Solution proves it has successfully solved this NFV complexity conundrum while also delivering top-flight performance in a sophisticated, scalable vCPE package. Our test was conducted by Light Reading's long-term lab partner, EANTC. And to ensure that the results were impartial and balanced, Light Reading itself commissioned and paid for the evaluation.

EANTC really put the Juniper vCPE suite through its paces -- looking at how it provisions and manages vCPE services, how it automates the set up of the required underlying infrastructure to deliver them, evaluating multiple network topologies and service architectures and assessing availability/reliability. In each case, the Juniper suite did exactly what it says on the label.

But perhaps even more impressive was the way Juniper's cloud CPE suite gives service providers the ability to delegate the task of provisioning and managing services to the end user, via an intuitive and easy-to-use GUI (what it calls a "self-care customer portal"). This is a true NFV breakthrough -- and one that will come as welcome news to service providers around the world that are becoming increasingly frustrated with the pace at which the comms industry is (or isn't) developing network-ready NFV.

This test was the first time we've had a chance to put Juniper technology through its paces in a lab since way back at the turn of the century (when we tested its terabit router... remember when a "terabit" was a big deal? Ha!) In terms of the company's approach to engineering next-gen comms solutions, it turns out very little has changed. Clearly, that's a good thing. The company is known for producing exquisitely engineered, state-of-the-art comms gear that makes service providers' lives easier, and the key takeaway of this test is really: plus ça change.

I'm looking forward to seeing Juniper participate in more independent Light Reading tests, and after reading this report I suspect our service provider readers will feel the same way.

— Stephen Saunders, Founder and CEO, Light Reading

Faisal Khan 7/17/2016 | 11:57:59 PM
Centralized CPE While the debate between centalized and distributed CPE remians subjective, the fact is that some sort of functions would need to sit at customer premises ( distributed CPE). It would be interesting to see how this product evolves to support distibuted CPE in future.

On a different note, it would be interesting to include some sort of third party nodes in such tests. Given the scope and spirit of NFV, such tests would than prove a vendor's claim of open APIs.
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