Ovum attended the September 2017 Comcast Business analyst event, where the company provided an update on its business solutions and new services. The major development was Comcast’s work to provide managed SD-WAN service, with more detail around the offer and related elements of the service.
The company used its analyst event to debut its ActiveCore network functions virtualization platform. ActiveCore at its launch supports just one application, Comcast Business’ managed SD-WAN service based on Versa Networks. The Versa Networks virtual network function bundles router, firewall, and SD-WAN. Comcast runs Versa Networks VNFs on four- and eight-core white-box universal CPE using OpenStack. Comcast rates this uCPE as powerful enough to support its 1Gbps broadband service. Comcast is positioning its ActiveCore platform for future "touchless" installation.
Comcast Business plans to expand its ActiveCore platform in two directions. The first goal is to add more third-party VNFs besides Versa Networks, starting with firewall/security and unified threat management, possibly adding WAN acceleration, managed Wi-Fi, and other functions over time.
Comcast’s second goal is to get the platform to run anywhere: over DOCSIS broadband, switched Ethernet, and mobile broadband; in-footprint and out-of-footprint; supporting internet VPNs and third-party MPLS VPN services (by bookending MPLS with SD-WAN); and eventually supporting VNFs at the uCPE level, hosted in Comcast’s PoPs and at cloud locations.
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