Juniper Enhances Its Edge
First, Juniper has added a new "mini-me" edge router -- a three-slot chassis to the E-series edge routers. The ERX 310 is the smallest router in a family of routers, including the ERX 705, 710, 1410, and 1440. It’s designed to take advantage of existing ERX line cards and software.
By going into lower-end markets, Juniper's getting more aggressive in competing with Cisco. Cisco offers several lower-end products like the 7301 and 7400 stackable routers and the 7200 and 7600 chassis-based routers.
As of the first quarter 2003, Cisco had about 65 percent of the $343 million edge aggregation market, according to Infonetics Research Inc. Juniper had about 21 percent of the market.
Another key enhancement to the E-series portfolio is IPSec tunneling support. Now ERX routers will have the ability to terminate IPSec tunnels from Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) clients, enabling service providers to offer a managed secure remote access service. Previously, it could only terminate IPSec tunnels from other routers.
Strategically, this puts Juniper in closer competition with IP service switches like Nortel’s Shasta and CoSine’s IPSX series, which have been adding more IP routing functionality (see VPNs Grow Up and Edge Routing Gets Service Friendly ). Other edge routing vendors like Cisco and Redback Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: RBAK) also support IPSec tunnels.
According to Infonetics, the edge router and aggregation market is expected to grow from $1.6 billion in 2002 to $3.3 billion by 2006. And, as more functions are added to edge routers (e.g., broadband aggregation, security, and virtual private network features), it’s critical for Juniper to update its offering.
“The key is to offer a broad range of offerings,” says Kevin Mitchell, an analyst with Infonetics. “Whether it’s a small POP or a particular geographic region that has different traffic requirements, more variety in product offerings can help land deals.”
Juniper's move into IPSec will allow it to support more services and integrate those services with MPLS-based VPNs.
MCI (Nasdaq: MCIT) and BellSouth Corp. (NYSE: BLS) have both announced managed VPN services using a combination of IPSec and MPLS VPNs; and Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) is also looking into it (see BellSouth Unveils MPLS Backbone and Qwest Heads for Convergence).
Another important enhancement of the E-series is IPv6 support. Juniper has already been supporting the protocol on is M-series routers. Until now, it didn’t support it on the E-series routers, which originally came from Juniper’s 2002 acquisition of Unisphere (see Juniper Nabs Unisphere for $740M). Cisco also claims to offer IPv6 on its edge aggregation routers.
Juniper has also made some additions to the M-series routers, including a new Gigabit-Ethernet services PIC and a hardware based J-Flow accounting feature, which will allow carriers to sample statistics and bill for bytes or packet through a particular interface. It's also added virtual private LAN services based on the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) working group document authored by Kireeti Kompella, a Juniper engineer (see Virtual Private LAN Service). The company doesn’t have plans to add support for the competing version of VPLS co-written by Kireeti’s brother Vach Kompella (see Kompella vs Kompella).
— Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editor, Light Reading