Juniper Looks Inward for Wireless
Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) says it's going to develop its own packet core for wireless networks, building off its recently announced hardware capabilities and the concept of a universal edge.
Juniper thinks it's up to the task because of the strength of its Trio chips, part of the cavalcade of announcements that came out yesterday morning with the company's makeover. (See Juniper Takes Over the Network, Juniper Launches New Routers, and Photos: Juniper HQ.)
The resulting routers and linecards, collectively called MX 3D, can be the basis for a packet core, Luc Ceuppens, Juniper's vice president of technical marketing, tells Unstrung.
"It's flexible enough and it's powerful enough that we can write the applications to have that platform support it," he says.
Analysts have questioned what Juniper is going to do for a packet-core product, considering the acquisition candidates have been getting snatched up. Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) has bid for Starent Networks Corp. (Nasdaq: STAR), and Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA) intends to buy WiChorus Inc. (See Cisco to Buy Starent for $2.9B, Core Blimey! Tellabs Buys WiChorus, and Juniper's Wireless Worry.)
The packet core Juniper wants to build would be part of a broader concept, the universal edge, which Juniper describes as a network that changes its characteristics depending on the service being handled. More bandwidth would be applied to a wireline video service than to email accessed on a mobile handset, for instance.
The mobile side of this universal edge, including billing and subscriber management, is being called Project Falcon, as Kim Perdikou, Juniper's vice president of infrastructure products, disclosed during the company's New York press event yesterday.
"It means we'll deliver a mobile packet core to the industry, but it will be on a universal edge that you can run any other types of services [on]. It won't be one box built for one service," she said.
On the upcoming MX 3D routers and linecards, Juniper already has 70 percent of what it needs for mobility, Perdikou said. Some of the rest might be delivered by partners; Juniper emphasized yesterday that it's further opening its Junos operating system to let other companies write applications for routers and switches. (See Juniper Declares 'New' Network.)
One hangup will be whether Juniper can develop its packet core quickly enough. But Ceuppens notes that Juniper went through these same questions with Ethernet, which was considered to be another product hole. Juniper did consider possible acquisitions but found none that would scale enough and meet next-generation needs, he says.
So, Juniper developed its own EX line of switches and MX carrier Ethernet switch/routers (CESRs). "In the case of Ethernet switching it took us two years of development. In carrier Ethernet it took one year. We believe that in wireless, if we have all of the components already, we can build something fast," Ceuppens says.
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading
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