Light Reading commissions first ever multivendor test of routers, conducted by Network Test Inc. and Spirent Communications

March 12, 2001

3 Min Read

NEW YORK -- Light Reading (, the premiere information resource for the optical networking industry, today published the results of the first independent multi-vendor test of Internet core routers. The results show that after 10 years at the top, Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO - news) no longer has to worry about the competition catching up. Now it has a new challenge: Playing catch-up to the performance of routers from archrival Juniper Networks (Nasdaq: JNPR - news).

"Our goal was to answer once and for all the question of who has the best Internet core router. After 172 days of testing, we know that it's Juniper," said Stephen Saunders, co-founder and US Editor of Light Reading.

Light Reading partnered with two companies to undertake the test: Network Test Inc. (Hoboken, N.J.), a benchmarking and network design consultancy, and Spirent Communications (Calabasas, Calif.), a supplier of performance analysis systems.

"These test results are extremely useful," said Kamran Sistanizadeh, co-founder and CTO of Yipes Communications, Inc., a service provider rolling out a nationwide high speed IP backbone. They help highlight "complex and subtle" issues concerning the right choice of core routers for different applications, he said.

This was the first time that Cisco agreed to let any of its gear be evaluated in an independent public test. But, Juniper beat out Cisco's 12416 in three out of four key performance categories: IP (Internet Protocol), MPLS (multi-protocol label switching), and OC-192 (10 Gbit/s). The two tied for first place in the fourth category: OC-48 (2.5 Gbit/s) performance.

The test showed that Juniper's M160 is the best of breed. In some areas, it's in a class by itself: It holds more BGP (border gateway protocol) routes and more MPLS label-switched paths than any other box. It deals with network instability far better. And it exhibits much lower average latency -- the amount of delay a router introduces -- and latency variation.

But Cisco put up a fight. "They came to play. Cisco's new offering is just a memory upgrade and a couple of features away from being a serious threat to Juniper's M160," comments David Newman, president of Network Test.

Two other vendors participated in the tests: Charlotte's Networks, and Foundry Networks, but their results lagged far behind Cisco and Juniper. Seven other vendors failed to show up -- including Avici Systems, which is the no. 3 core router player in terms of market share.

All of the results are being published on Light Reading's new Web site, Light Testing ( which is being launched today. Light Testing will host the results of a string of tests on leading edge optical networking equipment and services being planned by Light Reading.

Spirent Communications provided SmartBits and Adtech performance analysis systems worth $2.6 million, which were used to recreate predicted Internet traffic volume and routing complexity to test routers worth a combined total of $29 million from the four vendors.

About Light Reading

Light Reading launched in February 2000. Its Web site,, delivers timely and entertaining in-depth analysis of optical networking developments for free. Profitable from its inception, Light Reading has rapidly gained a reputation as required reading for anybody associated with next-generation Internet technology.

About Network Test Inc.

Network Test is an independent benchmarking and network design consultancy. Its clients include service providers and Fortune 50 enterprises on three continents. The company is headed by David Newman, who formerly managed the award-winning lab test program for Data Communications magazine for nearly 10 years. Newman is also the author of the IETF specification for firewall performance measurement, and a coauthor of a pending draft on quality-of-service measurement.

About Spirent Communications

Spirent Communications unites the best in performance analysis technology with network operations expertise. Spirent enables its customers to accelerate the development, deployment and assurance of next-generation network equipment and services worldwide. It products include SmartBits and Adtech analysis systems for all LAN/MAN/WAN and access technologies.

Subscribe and receive the latest news from the industry.
Join 62,000+ members. Yes it's completely free.

You May Also Like