Offering business customers cost-saving options for customer premises equipment (CPE) using advanced software technology need not be the exclusive domain of the nation’s largest business service providers, as recent news from tier two cable operator WOW! illustrates. A WOW! cloud CPE offering based on a platform from Juniper Networks is currently in field tests, according to a press release.
In an interview, Juniper Director of Service Provider Portfolio Marketing Donyel Jones-Williams shared details about the emerging WOW! cloud CPE offering.
“They’re evaluating centralized email services for virus detection,” he said of WOW!
WOW! Cloud CPE
WOW! Cloud CPE aims to let business customers obtain security and other functionality as cloud services that would be delivered from a WOW! data center, Jones-Williams explained. The offering would leverage both software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV).
While some other carriers, including AT&T and Verizon, are offering virtual CPE by downloading software onto generic hardware, the WOW! offering aims to let customers use existing CPE. Business customers will be able to use WOW! services on Ethernet network interface devices (NIDs) from Adva or RAD, Jones-Williams noted.
“They will leverage existing infrastructure,” said Jones-Williams of WOW! “They don’t have to roll out new hardware.”
Where NFV comes in is on the servers in the WOW! data center, which will run Juniper’s Contrail Software Suite to support the cloud CPE offering, Jones-Williams explained. The Juniper Contrail Software Suite is based on SDN concepts of centralized management of network devices, he said.
To support a cloud-based offering of the sort WOW! Is planning, a service provider needs to “operate, manage and troubleshoot switching, storage and compute infrastructure,” explained Jones-Williams. “They’re using Contrail to do that.”
One of WOW!’s goals for cloud CPE was to have a high level of service orchestration to enable business customers to order service and have it delivered with little or no intervention on the part of WOW! staff, according to Jones-Williams. This can be achieved using Contrail service orchestration software, he said.
The Contrail platform should not need much, if any, customization to support the capabilities that WOW! needs because Juniper already has “done a lot of legwork . . . with third-party vendors” such as Adva and Rad, Jones-Williams said.