I see the term headend thrown around a lot at work?

What sort of device in what role gets considered a headend?

  • It depends on your perspective, e.g. if you have a bunch of remote sites that connect back to a main site, then the main site is the head end.
    – Ron Maupin
    Dec 11, 2016 at 20:52
  • Where I come from it is typically used for a VPN concentrator, i.e. a device that accepts VPN connections from multiple VPN clients and/or branch sites.
    – hertitu
    Dec 12, 2016 at 9:59
  • Did any answer help you? If so, you should accept the answer so that the question doesn't keep popping up forever, looking for an answer. Alternatively, you could provide and accept your own answer.
    – Ron Maupin
    Aug 15, 2017 at 16:01

3 Answers 3


It's the last point of significance in a service provider's network, relative to the consumers of that service, from the point of view of the service provider.

For example,

  • in the days of dial up Internet service, the consumers had modems in their homes attached to phone lines, and the head end was the concentrator where all those phone lines met up.

  • in cable TV systems its the unit that everyone's coax connects to for bundling back to the cable provider. Could be a street cabinet or a CMTS.

  • etc.


a headend is a server which receive the signal from the satellite and then decode,encode and multiplex it to send in field via fibers to subscribers. There are various headend eqipments we need to use in digital headend like encoders, decoders , qam and streaming servers. know more below,



Systemically, think of a directional graph. The Head-end would be the node/point feeding the arc/edge, with the dead-end being the receiving node/point of the arc/edge.

Colloquially, in the communications industry, head-end equipment is frequently associated with a transmitting station, while dead-end equipment might be the end user receiving equipment.

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