Juniper Sees Quadruple

Juniper's M160 router has four times the horsepower of the M40 -- but it's still not a terabit terror

March 28, 2000

4 Min Read
Juniper Sees Quadruple

Juniper Networks Inc. has finally rolled out its long-awaited second generation router. So what's the skinny on this new box? Take the M40, its predecessor, multiply it by four and you have the M160. Ta-da! It's really as simple as that. Port density, capacity and the name are exactly four times greater than the M40. (For more details, check out the spec sheets on Juniper's site

"The name does give the story away," admits Scott Kriens, CEO of Juniper.

Unlike rival Cisco Systems, Inc., which won't be shipping OC-192c interfaces until later this year, Juniper is shipping OC-48 and OC-192 line cards for the M160 now, today.

And apparently that's good enough for UUNET, an MCI WorldCom Company It announced today that it has already purchased M160s, and is using them to provide a 10 Gbit/s loop between New York City, Washington, D.C. and Chicago.

"We are constantly trying to push the technology envelope," says Kevin Boyne, senior VP of global network services for Uunet. "If we had used the GSR12016, we would have had to wait."

Still, even with capacity quadrupled in the M160, the router is still not even close to handling terabit capacity. Unlike Cisco, which pre-announced a 'terabit system' in January that is expected to ship at the end of this year, Juniper has made no mention of a 'terabit' strategy. With start-ups popping up daily professing to deliver on the terabit promise, is Juniper lagging behind? (see Terabit Turmoil )

"We entered 1999 with all those other vendors saying they were going to kick our butts, and we ignored it. Now, with the M160, our message is 'game over, guys,'" says Joe Furgerson, VP of marketing for Juniper.

The M160 certainly doesn't make life easier for Juniper's competition. Until now, the message from many of the terabit pretenders was that when they finally did bring out their first generation products, they would leapfrog Juniper. The announcement of the M160 is giving Juniper an opportunity to have fun with those claims. "We're now on our second generation of product and we still haven't seen anybody else's first generation. Where does that leave them?" Kriens adds.

Service providers tend to agree. "Multi-year strategies are fine. But delivering the latest technology today is essential in order to fuel growth," says Boyne of Uunet.

There seems little doubt that the M160 will be a commercial success and, given Juniper's track record for engineering excellence, that it will perform as advertised.

Boring, really.

In fact, the real story of the day is Juniper's changing strategy. For two years, Cisco and Juniper have been the only two vendors duking it out in the IP core. Juniper has achieved what many start-ups only dream about. The company has taken almost 20% market share away from Cisco simply by building and delivering a strong point product. But now the company is looking to evolve from being a one-product wonder to a major player, which will have its hand in developing multiple products and multiple technologies (see Cisco, Juniper, Lock Down Internet Router Market ).

"Focusing on a single revenue source is not a sustainable franchise model," says Kriens.

To that end, the company is already making acquisitions, as well as investments in key startups. Last November, it spent $19 million on Layer Five, a networking start-up out of Palo Alto that develops network processing algorithms. Then, in January of this year, the company bought Hong Kong-based Pacific Advantage Ltd. for $4 million, which has added 15 new sales and marketing staff to Juniper's seven offices throughout Asia.

That's just a taste of what's to come, Juniper says. "We've got $1.6 billion in cash, and we're going to spend it," says Kriens.

Juniper's strategy doesn't end with acquisitions. While Cisco has been out spending billions on Cerent Corp., Monterey Networks Inc., and Pirelli Optical Systems, Juniper has been quietly making smaller investments in strategic partners like Zaffire Inc., a DWDM vendor, Optical Networks Inc. a metropolitan area network equipment vendor , and Yipes Inc, a next generation service provider

Kriens says there is actually nothing new about this approach. It's just an expansion of what Juniper has been doing all along.

"We use the same formula over and over," he says. "First we focus, then learn, and finally execute. Then we do it all over again."

One thing is certain: if Juniper and Cisco were competitors before, they're now on a collision course.

--by Marguerite Reardon, senior editor, Light Reading

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