Juniper to Announce 40-Gig Strategy?
40-gig interfaces would be a significant leap forward not simply because they are four times faster than their 10-Gbit/s predecessors, but also because they should allow service providers to connect routing equipment directly to high-capacity optical transmission devices in metro or long-haul networks in a way that eliminates the need for expensive multiplexing technology. (Currently, carriers would typically deploy Sonet muxes to combine 10-Gbit/s router traffic into a single stream that can be sent to a 40-Gbit/s port on the metro or long-haul optical device.)
However, there are a couple of big question marks hanging over the announcement. It's unclear when the 40-Gbit/s interfaces might be available, given that 40-Gbit/s silicon is in development but still largely a laboratory proposition for now. This raises the possibility that Juniper will offer higher speeds in the short term by aggregating 10-Gbit/s OC192s, before migrating to "real" 40-Gbit/s interfaces later.
That scenario is lent credence by a VC who claims familiarity with the company's product developments. He says that Juniper will roll out its next router interfaces in two phases: a 20-Gbit/s version, followed by a 40-Gbit/s version "some time down the road." Cisco is expecting the announcement, according to a source at the company who requested anonymity. "We've heard rumors to that effect, but no [Cisco sales personnel have] reported seeing them at customers. Typically, we do see early units in customer labs when a product is in beta."
In the meantime the real battle between Cisco and Juniper is in the market for smaller routers, the source says; "We're in more serious fights with them versus the M20, as we're in the momentum pause of transitioning [customers] from the 7500 to the 7600 and 10000 [Series routers]."
"Sooner or later the major router players will have to roll out 40-gigabit interfaces. It's the next logical step for them," says Menachem Abraham, founder of Mintera Corp., a startup based in Lowell, Mass., that is developing 40-Gbit/s optical subsystems for use in ultralong-haul networks. Abraham says that the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) has already set up a committee to develop a 40-gig VSR (very short reach) standard for use in connecting routers and optical transport devices. A draft spec has not yet been completed, however.
Juniper declined to be drawn, on when it will ship 40-gig technology. "We'll tell you when our customers have it," said Carl Showalter, vice president of marketing for the company. He also refused to comment on whether Juniper had 40-Gbit/s products in the works. "I'm not going to comment on that," he said.
— Stephen Saunders, Founding Editor, Light Reading