Comcast Business adds managed router VNF to ActiveCore platform

After launching SD-WAN two years ago on its ActiveCore platform, Comcast Business is now offering managed routers on the same platform.

Comcast Business booted up the managed router offering in April, according to Comcast Business' Jody Hagemann, senior director of SD-WAN product management.

Comcast developed ActiveCore as its software-defined networking (SDN) platform for its services and applications. Starting several years ago, Comcast touted ActiveCore as one of the first cable-delivered, gigabit-ready SDN platforms in the cable industry.

Both the managed router and SD-WAN services are offered as virtual network functions (VNF) on ActiveCore. Comcast Business is working with Versa Networks for its SD-WAN deployments.

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"SD-WAN was the first product on the ActiveCore platform, and managed router is our second product, and then security is our next VNF," Hagemann said. "Also on the roadmap, we're looking at virtual SBCs (session border controllers) and we are looking at Wi-Fi capabilities, but security has been the big one."

Hagemann said the managed router VNFs are for Comcast Business' fiber-based Ethernet customers that were receiving a circuit and a network interface device (NID).

"Customers needed a router on the other end of it," she said. "So it's a perfect attachment product for our customers."

With the managed routers, Comcast Business can support the full lifecycle of router management, from initial configuration and installation to ongoing management and support.

According to the Comcast Business website, the managed router services include dual router options for a single location. The managed routers also come with back-up connectivity and wireless fall-over.

For virtual private networks (VPNs), the managed router can create a private connection between sites using IPSec and other secure protocols. It can also include a virtual router redundancy protocol as well as WAN performance optimization.

On the configuration side, the managed router VNF has quality of service, LAN segmentation, automatic failover and load balancing capabilities. It also has  WAN/LAN protocol-based restrictions and "basic" firewall security.

Comcast Business didn't say what vendors it's using for the managed routers, but said on the website that they come from "well-known and well-trusted manufacturers."