What is CPE?

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CPE stands for Customer-Premises Equipment or Customer-Provided Equipment. This simply refers to any piece of equipment which is on the premises of the subscriber and is linked to the telecommunication channels at the demarc of a particular carrier. The dermarc or the demarcation point refers to the point which is established in an infrastructure, in order to separate the equipment of the telephone company with the equipment of the subscriber or customer.

In general, CPE involves the telephones, RGs, routers, set-top boxes, and switches which are owned by the customer. There are also hybrid CPE which enables customers to easily gain access to voice, data, and video services. Additionally, telephone systems and private branch exchanges are also included. However, pay phones and overvoltage protection equipment are not included in CPE.

Aside from those mentioned, the term CPE also refers to any type of device which terminates a WAN circuit including the DSL, ISDN, metro Ethernet, E-carrier, or T-carrier. The pieces of hardware that are owned by the customer at his site, such as the firewalls, VoIP gateways, routers, CSU/DSU, PBXs, and modems are also included. Some of the most common areas of application for this include the Broadband, Pay TV, Fixed Mobile Convergence, IP Telephony, Connected Home, and Over-The-Top Video services.

The SU or the subscriber unit refers to a broadband radio, which is set up or installed in a residential or business area and connected to an access point to be able to both receive and send out high speed data. Some devices considered as SU are mobile phones, cable modems, home networking adapters, and access gateways.

Sometimes, cellular carriers may refer to mobile phones that are bought by customers without a subsidy as a Customer Provided Equipment. In addition, the PTR record of DSL lines and cables that are connected to a residential premise commonly has “CPE.”

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