Juniper Mounts Pulpit for IP Services
The software upgrades allow carriers to use MPLS (multiprotocol label switching) to set up virtual private networks (VPNs) over IP-routed networks. Routing functions among VPNs are handled via BGP (Border Gateway Protocol). The combination of these technologies, the company claims, will allow service providers to retain the advantages of ATM and Frame Relay networks -- such as detailed billing and quality of service -- over an IP infrastructure. Juniper is also announcing features that allow service providers to set up “accounting profiles” that collect statistics for accounting and billing applications -- all the way down to the level of individual users.
On the hardware side, Juniper is announcing three new interfaces. The first is a channelized STM1-to-E1 card that permits as many as 63 E1 (2.048 Mbit/s) connections to be aggregated onto a single high-capacity optical connection. The second is a long-haul gigabit-Ethernet interface supporting links up to 70 kilometers. The third is a multilink PPP card that allows service providers to multiplex low-speed connections for greater throughput.
"We're moving beyond IP connectivity and networking to allow service providers to focus on building infrastructure to generate revenue," says Carl Showalter, vice president of marketing at Juniper.
It's persuasive schtick. The only problem is that Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) offers equivalent features on its router platforms. Juniper claims that its capabilities will be easier to implement than Cisco's, for two reasons. First, all heavy-duty processing will be performed on its Internet Processor II ASICs, which Juniper claims will ensure that network performance remains high. Second, the various features can be added to networks via a single software download of the latest version of the Junos routing code, which runs across all of Juniper's platforms.
It's too early to say how these claims will play out in the real world, although Juniper already has one key account preparing to deploy the new functions: Global Crossing Ltd. (NYSE: GX), which has said that it plans a worldwide rollout of VPN services based on the technology.
In the mean time, sources have told Light Reading that an even bigger announcement is imminent: 40-Gbit/s interfaces for Juniper's core routers (see Juniper to Announce 40-Gig Strategy?).
— Stephen Saunders, Founding Editor, Light Reading