It’s never too late to move to uCPE!

Some operators and enterprises wanted to move to SD-WAN and deployed networking appliances instead of uCPE. Now they’re reconsidering that choice. Let’s look at why.
Prayson Pate
Never too late

At ADVA, we’ve been in the network functions virtualization (NFV) and universal CPE (uCPE) business for a long time. And while many enterprises and operators have seen its value, others didn’t. Or they were afraid of the complexity. Or they thought they could move faster using appliances to deliver managed SD-WAN and firewall services. But those same enterprises and operators are now tripping over the limitations of single-vendor solutions implemented as integrated hardware appliances. And they are now coming back to uCPE.

Let’s take a look at some real-world examples. Of course, the names have been omitted to protect everyone.

As a reminder, when we talk about NFV and uCPE, we’re talking about replacing dedicated network appliances (such as SD-WAN boxes, routers and firewalls) with software virtual network functions running on a standard server. This approach enables choice in software and choice in hardware, empowering operators to select best-of-breed components and escape vendor lock-in. It also provides the ability to add new services without changing the hardware. In short, NFV and uCPE bring the power and speed of the cloud to the telco network and customer site.

Tier 1 MSO in US: Customers want choice

This multiple-system operator (MSO) went to market with a pre-integrated SD-WAN appliance. Because the solution was from a single vendor, there was no competition – and it was too expensive. Even worse, the MSO found out that their enterprise customers wanted a say in which SD-WAN application they deployed – rather than being forced to use the single approved supplier. In short, their customers wanted choice. 

Why are they now moving to uCPE? To break the single-vendor silo and give their customer choice.

Tier 1 MSO in US: uCPE provides risk reduction

This operator initially chose a name-brand SD-WAN appliance supplier. But they struggled to successfully deploy it due to product issues.  Later, the MSO acquired a company that used an appliance from a different SD-WAN supplier. This put them in the position of having to manage two different devices in the network. Now they are moving away from the first SD-WAN supplier. That means they now have to change the original SD-WAN hardware and replace it with new devices. What a waste of time and money!

Why are they now moving to uCPE? To reduce the risk and impact of non-performing SD-WAN. Now they can change SD-WAN application suppliers without having to rip and replace hardware – and in many cases, without having to send a technician to the site.

NFV and uCPE bring the power and speed of the cloud to the telco network and customer site.

Tier 1 CSP in the Middle East: revenue recovery

This CSP was losing MPLS customers to SD-WAN solutions from competitors. MPLS in the Middle East is very lucrative, so this loss was financially painful. The CSP initially decided to stem the bleeding with their own single-vendor SD-WAN solution. This helped some, but it did not make up for the lost MPLS revenue.

Why are they now moving to uCPE? So that they can offer SD-WAN plus other services on one device, resulting in a more profitable and sticky service platform.

Tier 1 CSP in the Middle East: maintaining control of the network

Like the CSP above, this operator was losing MPLS revenue due to SD-WAN. And they saw some of the same issues with the move to SD-WAN. But they had some other sore spots. The need to support multiple hardware platforms increased their sparing costs. And the fact that it was single-vendor shifted the balance of power to the supplier.

Why are they now moving to uCPE? To both simplify and open their network. They can get the benefits of offering uCPE without giving control to the supplier. And they can minimize their sparing requirements by consolidating multiple services from different suppliers onto a single hardware device. 

Enterprise in Australia: dealing with supply chain issues

This enterprise was happy with their appliance-based SD-WAN provider. That is, until the provider was acquired, and the prices went up. Then the trade wars began, making it difficult for them to get devices for network expansion or replacing failures.

Why are they now moving to uCPE? To ensure that they are never again at the mercy of a single supplier – whether hardware or software. With the move to uCPE, they can mitigate supply chain issues in real time – whether those issues are coming from hardware or software. 

We don’t hold any grudges

Even if you previously told us “no” on an opportunity for uCPE, it’s OK. We’ll be happy to help you make the move to an open and cloud-centric platform for service deployment. 

And we won’t say “I told you so” – at least not out loud.😊

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