Modernizing Business Services with uCPE
In a previous blog, I discussed how equipment providers are facing a lucrative but pitfall-laden path in deciding how to invest in NFV to displace dedicated appliances. CSPs have similar NFV investment decisions to make on the user side of the equation. They need to answer the question: “Where should I start implementing an NFV strategy to deliver network functions and customer services as a means of improving my bottom line and business success?”
One strong candidate for this starting point is Universal Customer Premises Equipment. uCPE streamlines multiple customer premises networking functions into a single software-configurable appliance that is deployed close to the end-customer. Deployment sites can be at the customer premises, within the CSP’s metro network as a multi-tenant platform, or as a distribution of functionality between these locations.
Bringing network and services functionality close to the end user is a key characteristic of uCPE. This contrasts with the more generalized virtual CPE (vCPE), which delivers this functionality from a centralized data center.
5 great reasons why uCPE is such a great starting point for CSPs to turn NFV into a strategic asset1. Delivers significant cost savings
uCPE lowers equipment costs by consolidating multiple appliances dedicated to individual functions into a single x86-based COTS platform. This platform runs these functions as software-enabled virtual network functions (VNFs). In parallel, it also lowers operational costs through self-installation capabilities and centralized management, delivering remote zero-touch provisioning and upgrades, and elimination of truck rolls.2. Platform for modernizing business services
Business networking services have always been a principal profit center for CSPs, with strong revenues and superior margins. Packet networking services are now the dominant growth driver in this segment for VPNs, WAN connectivity, and access to cloud-based applications. This is a marriage made in heaven for Universal Customer Premises Equipment, which excels at delivering a broad suite of functions that support packet networking services, like edge routing, cyber security, session border control, WAN optimization, LAN monitoring, and more. Universal Customer Premises Equipment is the ideal platform for CSPs to modernize and differentiate their business service offerings, assuring continued prominent contribution to CSP top and bottom lines.
3. Aligns with business customer core needs
Businesses want to focus on business. Slimmed down ICT departments want to receive superior and up-to-date functionality with a minimum of fuss. uCPE lets businesses deal with a single trusted service provider who works with them to select best-of-breed functionality from a library of VNFs. Centralized provisioning ensures these VNFs are always updated for new revisions and patches. Universal Customer Premises Equipment is a clear all-around customer win situation.
4. Enhances customer stickiness through high performance
The vCPE approach of running VNFs in data centers adds significant latency, based on longer distances and unnecessary tromboning of interactions between business end-users and the VNFs. This frequently degrades service performance. uCPE employs a system design that enables optimal deployment of VNFs at the network edge or customer premises. This provides the best of both worlds to CSPs. They obtain all the core benefits of virtualization, plus they can deliver the highest level of service performance to end customers. This sharply differentiates the CSP offering from that of OTT providers, and provides stickiness for business customers to remain loyal.
5. Adds new revenues
uCPE can run multiple packet networking VNFs on the same platform simultaneously and sequence the VNFs per service-chaining rules, so that they run in correct operational order. This provides CSPs with a tool to create customized solutions for business customers tailored to their specific needs, driving incremental revenues. Moreover, since the entire process is based on remote provisioning, these configuration capabilities can be incorporated into a self-service customer portal.
Sounds like a no-brainer. But for CSPs to obtain these benefits, timing is critical to obtain a first-mover advantage! While uCPE delivers superior performance to vCPE based on its proximity to end-users, it can be tough to get customers to switch once they have subscribed to a different approach. So, if you as a CSP want to use NFV-enabled Universal Customer Premises Equipment to upgrade your customers to modernized business services, it is crucial to get started now.