What Is Universal CPE?

Prayson Pate

Universal customer premises equipment (uCPE) is getting a lot of attention. But what is it?

uCPE consists of software virtual network functions (VNFs) running on a standard operating system hosted on an open server. An ideal uCPE deployment supports a multi-vendor multi-component construction. As such, uCPE brings the power of the cloud to the telco network and is a gateway to innovation.

Service providers such as AT&T and Verizon see uCPE as a way to gain the full benefits of NFV. These benefits include:

  • Separation of network appliances into hardware and software components from multiple vendors
  • Using off-the-shelf (COTS) servers to ride the cost curves
  • Using a mix of open source and commercial software components
  • Working in a partnership with customers and suppliers

That’s the short version. For more details, here are a series of blogs and articles that delve into the details.

uCPE and vCPE

uCPE is an evolution from virtual CPE (vCPE). Here are more details: “Virtual CPE: Gateway to NFV Success.

uCPE Attributes

Achieving success with uCPE requires some essential features and attributes. This article lists the attributes of an ideal uCPE solution: “Understanding the Use of Universal CPE.

uCPE Benefits

uCPE has some specific benefits for service providers, including some they can’t achieve now. Here’s a description: “Why Service Providers Need Universal CPE” (summer 2017 edition of the Walker Skinny Wire, page 10).

Objections to uCPE

Some view uCPE with suspicion and want to stick with appliances. In this blog, we responded to some common objections: “Leave your appliances behind: How to overcome challenges in moving to a cloud-centric network.

Ensemble Connector for uCPE

ADVA’s Ensemble division has implemented uCPE, as described here: “Ensemble Continues to Make NFV Easy - and Cloudy.


uCPE is a general-purpose platform for hosting services, including SD-WAN. Here’s a view of why uCPE is important for SD-WAN: “Why Use HARDWARE Appliances for SOFTWARE-Defined WAN?

uCPE at Verizon

ADVA Ensemble won the software infrastructure part of the Verizon uCPE project. Here is a case study on that project: “Verizon uCPE Case Study.”

uCPE Brings the Power of the Cloud to the Telco Network

Service providers invented NFV to gain the benefits of the cloud. We had to solve many issues to achieve this goal. With uCPE, we have a practical implementation of NFV. uCPE enables rapid development and deployment of services, as well as open multi-vendor systems. The time for NFV – and uCPE – is now!

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