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What Is Universal CPE? (updated at May 2018)
September 14, 2017 | By Prayson Pate @ ADVA (PPate@advaoptical.com)
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We are pleased to share with you all an interesting article contributed by Prayson Pate.


Prayson Pate

Chief Technology Officer for Ensemble at ADVA Optical Networking


All Articles by Prayson Pate

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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:

  • eparation 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!


For more articles by Prayson Pate on Technically Speaking, please see: http://blog.advaoptical.com/en/About/prayson-pate.aspx

saurabhverma210 2017-09-29 13:45:13

Dear prayson...

good to find your article.....I think its a perfect use case for NFV.....and certainly have great market value.....

we would be interested for any feasibilty to come closure.....

Tnx Sau.

Heraclio Munoz 2018-07-19 09:29:48

uCPE– Universal CPE is a term coined by AT&T. It denotes a CPE that is not reliant on a centralized cloud for additional network functions & orchestration, but is instead entirely self-contained. Due to this, the hardware employed for uCPE will generally be quite a bit more powerful than for hybrid/cloud vCPE solutions. 

vCPE– the most common concept of a software-defined CPE, it’s simply defined as any CPE that uses commodity hardware and virtualized network functions instead of proprietary ASIC’s performing the network functions. Cloud vCPE is a subset of vCPE’s that include remote carrier-grade management, deployment and orchestration functionality.


uCPE/vCPE: Death of the magical black box

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