Optical/IP Networks

Juniper Celebrates Itself

Isn't it always this way? The new baby gets all the attention, so the older sibling starts acting up.

Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) today put out a press release reminding the world that the T640 core router is two years old -- a full 25 months after it shipped (see Juniper Celebrates the T-Series). Is 25 months now a highly symbolic numerological milestone? Or is Juniper simply countering the release of the Huge Fast Router (HFR), expected to be announced by Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) tomorrow, with that age-old PR trick, the pre-emptive release? (See Make Way for Cisco's HFR.)

One of the early morning press releases was datelined Leatherhead, U.K., of all places.

"The release has been timed to put the expected Cisco HFR launch this week into a more accurate context," a U.K. spokeswoman for Juniper wrote in an email.

A check with Juniper in the U.S. seemed to be in order.

It's not that simple, say officials in Juniper's Westford, Mass., office. They say the release was intended for April, to commemorate the two-year anniversary of the T-series shipping (see Juniper Goes Terabit With the T640).

The problem was in amassing permission for the 21 customers to be named in the release; although all had been previously announced, Juniper wanted the OK for their involvement, and it's taken time to get responses from the telecom firms, says Karen Livoli, senior manager of product marketing. That the release hit the street the day before the HFR's probable launch is "purely coincidental," she says.

The HFR is Cisco's next-generation core router, capable of multichassis implementations that take it into the "terabit" range. In the works for years, the HFR would compete with the likes of Avici Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: AVCI; Frankfurt: BVC7), Chiaro Networks Inc., Hyperchip Inc., Procket Networks Inc., and the Juniper T-series.

Juniper intends to create a multichassis router from the T640 with the TX Matrix, which was announced with the T640 but hasn't yet arrived. From the start, the TX has been slated for introduction in the second half of 2004, Livoli says.

Juniper did have a spot of news with today's release. The company has added logical-router services to the T-series and the flagship M-series. The feature, also expected to be in the HFR, allows certain applications to be isolated within the system, as though they were running on a separate physical router.

Of course, when it comes to the largest of their core routers, Juniper and Cisco are fighting as much for bragging rights as for market share. Large T640 and HFR installations will be rare occurances and won't make or break either company, writes analyst Stephen Kamman of CIBC World Markets in a report issued today.

What matters, Kamman writes, is the companies' market share across the entire router space. "This is the real measure of market power on a long-term basis, and what it shows currently is a market that has basically stabilized," with Cisco taking about 70 to 75 percent share and Juniper nabbing 25 to 30 percent, Kamman writes.

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

Sign In