Sergey Nivens - Fotolia
For service providers, virtual customer premises equipment, or vCPE, and software-defined WAN are distinct technology options that help achieve the same goal: to deliver managed services to business customers. As a result, providers face a tradeoff: rapid deployment with SD-WAN using a vendor-specific option versus the flexibility of a vCPE platform that allows open source contribution, customization and internal development -- with a longer timeline. Soon, however, there won't be a distinction between the two. The lines between these two technologies are beginning to blur as their functionalities merge.
By submitting your personal information, you agree that TechTarget and its partners may contact you regarding relevant content, products and special offers.
Many leading service providers are currently deploying both SD-WAN and virtual CPE services to their business customers. Over time, these functionalities will converge, with either SD-WAN functionality being incorporated onto the vCPE platform or SD-WAN expanding to become the platform for vCPE services. Many service providers, including AT&T and Verizon, are deploying both SD-WAN and vCPE as managed services offerings. Others, like Telefónica, are deploying vCPE-centric platforms. Many other service providers -- including CenturyLink, Sprint, Vonage, Hughes Network Systems LLC, Masergy Communications Inc. and Windstream -- are leveraging SD-WAN products for their business services offerings.
A breakdown of SD-WAN and vCPE
SD-WAN simplifies WAN service delivery using software and cloud-based technologies. Software-based virtualization enables network abstraction that results in simplified network operations. With SD-WAN, service providers can quickly deploy managed hybrid WAN services -- using internet and MPLS connections, for example.
Leading service providers are currently deploying a wide variety of SD-WAN services to deliver managed hybrid WAN connectivity to their business customers. SD-WAN vendors, including VeloCloud, Versa Networks, Riverbed Technology and Cradlepoint, are increasingly expanding their platforms' capabilities to include a broad range of security, WAN optimization and routing features that compete with vCPE functionality.
For service providers, vCPE is a leading use case for deploying network functions virtualization -- in which network intelligence is abstracted into modular software for deployment on standard hardware platforms. Service providers are deploying vCPE as a more flexible way of delivering services to business customers. These services virtualize CPE functions -- e.g., routing, network address translation, VPN or firewall -- and the functionality resides in the service edge or the data center. Leading service providers are now starting to deliver virtual CPE services to their business customers.
Getting your SD-WAN questions answered
Real-world benefits of SD-WAN
Prepare for SD-WAN deployment
Dig Deeper on SDN applications
Related Q&A from Lee Doyle
Network expert Lee Doyle explains the status of NFV deployment in 2018 and how open source, 5G and the internet of things can drive future changes. Continue Reading
Most people have experienced poor quality when it comes to real-time network traffic, like VoIP and video. But SD-WAN can help prioritize traffic and... Continue Reading
SDN and intent-based networking share more in common than hype about their promises and potential. Our expert weighs in on how the two technologies ... Continue Reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.