Universal CPE (uCPE) solutions enable a new approach in which remotely provisioned virtual functions provide key network functionality and bring the benefits of virtualization to enterprise networks. A growing number of service providers are deploying uCPE platforms that support one or more virtual network functions (VNFs) for WAN connectivity (including SD-WAN), security, routing, switching and other functions. This approach supports WAN traffic optimisation and access to mission-critical cloud applications directly from branch and remote sites and delivers significant benefits to enterprises, including flexibility and control.
uCPE platforms are based on integrated multicore processors and have multiple Ethernet ports for LAN and WAN connections. VNFs are on-boarded and managed by uCPE platform software that provides a complete network functions virtualization infrastructure (NFVi). The platform software may be built entirely from open solutions, including OpenStack, for orchestration or it may be a proprietary implementation that supports standard KVM-based or container-based VNFs. For smaller uCPE platforms, several companies provide integrated software platforms with WAN optimization, security and routing built in. The performance of uCPE platforms vary significantly from a single VNF and up to four Gigabit Ethernet interfaces to eight VNFs and up to 10 10GE interfaces.