With OTT services for consumers, most operators have seen potential revenues “slip through” their networks; vCPE gives them the opportunity to capture and consolidate a bigger share of the enterprise market. But for that to happen, they have to offer flexible deployment options.
There are two basic architectures for virtual CPE deployment: (1) a centralized cloud model where a low cost Ethernet access device is deployed at the customer premises and virtual network services in the cloud or behind the IP edge; and (2) a model where a more powerful device that is capable of running third-party VNFs is deployed at the customer premises. Each is an evolution on the classic CPE box-stacking model and are shown below.
In that context, the two deployment options presented above can be thought of as “bookends”, with the specific configuration dependent on the type of enterprise customer, the nature of connectivity between customer sites, and so on. Some factors favor a migration to a centralized cloud-hosted model overtime, while others suggest enduring value in localized compute, storage and routing. In practice, variations of the two models, with more or less capabilities deployed at the customer premises, should co-exist within the same operator network and be driven by customer needs.
This situation is reminiscent of the intelligent vs. stupid network debate of the late 90’s, except this time operators are focusing on gaining agility, not protecting legacy product lines. With flexible deployment options, operators can secure the vCPE market and avoid losing revenues to OTT providers a second time. That’s what recent history teaches us.
In the next post, I will discuss the impact of deployment options on service delivery and why it is not necessarily desirable to virtualize certain CPE services.
Francois de Repentigny, guest blogger, Level Up Marketing