Juniper Looks Beyond IPTV
At the company's annual meeting with analysts, executives today emphasized the openness of Juniper's IP architecture, noting that an IP/MPLS base leaves a network open to accommodate any new services that might come around.
Juniper's rhetoric was a response to the IPTV obsession that's swept the networking world and has some concerned for the routing vendor's future. In particular, Alcatel (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) surged in market share last year pitching a two-tiered IPTV architecture, pairing a router with an Ethernet aggregation box. (See Alcatel Router Revenues Surge.)
CEO Scott Kriens countered questions about this by noting Juniper's routers show up in the two largest IPTV deployments, those of Fastweb SpA (Milan: FWB) and PCCW Ltd. (NYSE: PCW; Hong Kong: 0008).
Other Juniper officials noted that Alcatel's success lies in networks geared for IPTV alone, whereas Juniper thinks it better to build a network readied for multiple services, given the unpredictability of what might be popular. "We fundamentally believe you need to build a multiservice network for the future," said Kim Perdikou, Juniper's new executive vice president of infrastructure products.
The ties between IPTV and Ethernet have spawned repeated rumors of Juniper acquisitions as well as a recent theory that Juniper is building its own carrier Ethernet switch. (See Extreme Thoughts and Juniper's Ethernet Strategy Emerging.) As in the past, Kriens deflected suggestions that Juniper needs Ethernet, saying it doesn't provide the intelligence that goes with the "traffic processing" theme.
"Ethernet is not an architecture. Ethernet is an interface," he said. "It's very important to distinguish between the interface type and the intelligence and the actual architectures that make it work." Kriens added, though, that Ethernet will likely be a primary means of connecting to this intelligence.
No big announcements accompanied Juniper's Analyst Day, although Juniper put out releases saying it has maintained its No. 2 ranking in edge routing, core routing, and high-end enterprise routing. (Alcatel simultaneously pledged its spot at No. 2 in IP edge routing.)
But what would a Juniper day be without a couple of core-router digs at Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)? Juniper sold 100 of its T640 routers in the fourth quarter of 2005, said Judy Beningson, Juniper's vice president of product management. And Juniper has been shipping some capacity upgrades, so that the TX4 -- which links T640s into a multichassis configuration like the Avici Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: AVCI; Frankfurt: BVC7) TSR or Cisco CRS-1 -- can now handle 320 Tbit/s.
"That's a lot bigger than 92 Tbit/s, in case anybody remembers that number," Beningson said. (See Cisco Grabs a Guinness.)