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Juniper Tunes Its Ethernet, IPTV Stories

Craig Matsumoto
6/9/2006

CHICAGO -- Globalcomm 2006 -- If Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) underwhelmed you with its Ethernet cards released this week, don't worry. The company says there's more to come.

Some analysts and even some competitors expected Juniper to launch a full-blown Ethernet switch at Globalcomm. (See Juniper Readies Ethernet Launch.) What Juniper announced, though, was a handful of Ethernet cards for its flagship M- and T-series routers. (See Juniper Makes Its Ethernet Move.)

But the company hinted of more to come at a midweek press conference launching Juniper's Open IPTV and Multiplay Initiative, which despite the name is really targeting services of all types.

The Ethernet cards marked "the first part of what I would call 'rolling thunder' announcements" slated for the next 12 to 18 months," says Shailesh Shukla, Juniper's VP of service provider marketing. He says Juniper started with the cards because that's what its customers wanted: a means to convert ATM and Frame Relay services to Ethernet without losing quality of service (QOS).

Juniper is also beefing up the E320 router, which was launched last year as an Ethernet density play. "The E-series platform does require additional high-density Ethernet as well as high-density uplink capability. Juniper does recognize that," Shukla says. (See Juniper Aims E-Series at IPTV.)

It's all in response to criticism that Juniper is falling behind as IPTV deployments progress. Juniper counters that its routers are being used in some of the world's biggest IPTV projects, but critics worry that the company is losing ground to Alcatel (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), and Redback Networks Inc. . (See IPTV, Alcatel Still Dog Juniper.)

Juniper also says it's prepping the network for multiple services, not just IPTV -- and that to build a network just for IPTV would be a mistake. That's where the Open IPTV and Multiplay Initiative comes in. (See Juniper Intros OpenIPTV.)

Opening up
"Multiplay" is Juniper's newly coined term for the combination of voice, video, data, wireless, and whatever other applications get created. ("Multiplay" might be yet another buzzword, but maybe it beats other options -- see Quadruple Play Is Out.)

The initiative's objective is to let applications talk to Juniper's SDX 300 Service Deployment System through an application programming interface (API). The SDX 300 is a server-based software and tools package that can set up the network to deliver the right QOS or security for a particular application.

The idea is that applications get a say in how they traverse the network. "We believe this is something that someone needs to take industry leadership on," Shukla says.

But would it apply to any networks beyond Juniper's? The company's last grand plan, the Infranet Initiative, morphed into the IPsphere Forum last year, reportedly at the insistence of carriers that wanted to see Alcatel and Cisco involved. (See Juniper's Infranet Takes Baby Steps and Infranet Becomes IPsphere.) Is a similar name change in the future for Open IPTV?

"That is a question for Cisco," Shukla tells Light Reading. "Are they willing to open up, for their IP infrastructure to be controlled by applications?"

Cisco says yes, noting it's already done that with its own Globalcomm announcement of the Intelligent Services Gateway (ISG) for its 10000 Series and 7200 Series routers.

The ISG cards let those routers handle subscriber-management decisions, such as who gets admission for particular services, around the edges of the network. (See Cisco Intros ISG.) Applications can talk to the ISG via open protocols such as XML, says Suraj Shetty, director of marketing for Cisco's routing and service provider technology group.

Open IPTV wouldn't be the answer for Juniper's IPTV woes anyway, he notes. "The bigger problem that Juniper will have to address is carrier Ethernet and how they're going to do the whole aggregation piece."

Juniper says it has 10 customers that have built interfaces to, or software applications for its SDX, among them IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), and Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE).

In a related Globalcomm announcement, Juniper became part of the Microsoft IPTV "ecosystem." That means Juniper's security gear has Microsoft's stamp of approval, a plus when Juniper comes calling to customers of Microsoft TV's IPTV Edition. (See Juniper, Microsoft Team.)

On hand at Globalcomm to discuss that part of the announcement was Christine Heckart, the former Juniper VP of marketing who left to take the job as general manager of marketing for Microsoft TV. (See VP Jumps From Juniper.) The connection is coincidental, both sides insist -- Juniper says it was talking to Microsoft long before Heckart took the job there. Heckart notes, furthermore, that she doesn't own any Juniper stock.

The security announcement deals with just control and signaling traffic, not with the video itself. The idea is to block video servers and other infrastructure gear from denial-of-service attacks, viruses, and the like.

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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very_objective_dude
very_objective_dude
12/5/2012 | 3:52:06 AM
re: Juniper Tunes Its Ethernet, IPTV Stories
but why do Juniper's strategies sound like a mess with no clear unified vision? What the heck is this "rolling thunder" thing? If I were to guess, this usually means there is a power struggle within the company, disconnect between mkt/sales and engr, and mgmt is busy doing something else. It is just a guess though, don't sue me.......
laser_focus
laser_focus
12/5/2012 | 3:52:05 AM
re: Juniper Tunes Its Ethernet, IPTV Stories
Rolling thunder over 12 to 18 months is what you get when the marketing department realizes that there is not that much in the new product pipeline.
matahari
matahari
12/5/2012 | 3:52:04 AM
re: Juniper Tunes Its Ethernet, IPTV Stories
Any company will be sending a rolling thunder over
12 to 18 months using this definition. This is
just marketing trying to create some buzz on
delayed products. Based on Juniper's past trend
of setting lower expectations, and then over
achieve that lower bar, it is possible they have
something in the works which may be ready in
6-12 months.

The question is, will anyone hear the thunder if
everyone has left to another building?
Goeran
Goeran
12/5/2012 | 3:52:01 AM
re: Juniper Tunes Its Ethernet, IPTV Stories
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You can actively suggest changes (add a new web page, promote/delete a page) and thus contribute to make this tool more and more useful. Thanks!

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talkintech
talkintech
12/5/2012 | 3:51:57 AM
re: Juniper Tunes Its Ethernet, IPTV Stories
Let's see, looking into my Juniper decoder ring (which I bought from a leading analyst firm at Globalcomm) I can see that "Rolling Thunder" + "Open TV" + "Multiplay" = "We are throwing everything we have at the wall and will let you know what sticks when we do."
vlui
vlui
12/5/2012 | 3:51:55 AM
re: Juniper Tunes Its Ethernet, IPTV Stories
This idea of "applications get a say to how they traverse the network", is this just the Juniper version of the Cisco AON pitch last year?? Any relevance?
materialgirl
materialgirl
12/5/2012 | 3:51:50 AM
re: Juniper Tunes Its Ethernet, IPTV Stories
Here is the relevance. Uncle Sam is trying to help the legacy telcos build unworkable models ala the old SS7 intelligent networks (IMS, IP-TV), so that they can kill off this troublesome (terrorist filled to be sure) Internet. That way they can really watch everything you are doing so you can feel safe.

Too bad JNPR thought we were moving to real IP networks, with stupid bandwidth and smart end points. Since this is what whey built product for, and not for the smart networks mentioned above, they are "behind". Forget the fact that nothing else really works, or will ever turn a profit.
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