Juniper Unveils the TX

The last of this year's big routers has arrived, as Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) today is launching its TX Matrix, the basis for its multichassis core router (see Juniper Intros TX Matrix).

The TX is an interconnection hub linking four of Juniper's T640 boxes so they behave as one honkin' router. Juniper is the last of the major router vendors to announce a multichassis architecture. Avici Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: AVCI; Frankfurt: BVC7) has been selling one with its TSR, and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) went multichassis with its CRS-1 Carrier Routing System, launched in May (see Cisco Unveils the HFR).

The TX Matrix was first mentioned in 2002 when Juniper launched the T640. But Juniper has held off its announcement until now, with the product having reached general availability (see Juniper Goes Terabit With the T640 and Juniper's TX Waits Its Turn).

The announcement comes with only two major surprises. First, the TX connects four T640s rather than eight as promised in 2002. That's because the market for really big routers hasn't exactly blossomed yet. Future versions will support larger numbers of routers -- the TX has the capacity to connect dozens of them -- but Juniper won't commit to a larger size until carriers' future needs become clearer, says Tom Jacobs, senior marketing manager.

The other surprise is that Juniper can't yet point to any paying customers for the TX. The company says Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) has completed a beta test of the product, but it doesn't appear any carrier is running paid-customer traffic across a TX just yet.

Analysts had expected Juniper to announce the TX only after the system was installed in a live carrier network. Even if such a customer exists, it hasn't given Juniper permission to speak, so why announce now? Most in the industry believe Juniper is trying to steal some thunder from Cisco's annual analyst day, a headline-making ritual slated for next Tuesday.

(In similar fashion, Juniper celebrated the almost-2-year anniversary of the T640 on the eve of the CRS-1 launch -- see Juniper Celebrates Itself).

Speed vs. space

Four T640s add up to 1.28 Tbit/s of traffic (that's without counting ingress and egress traffic separately). That pales in comparison to Cisco's 46-Tbit/s maximum on the CRS-1, but Juniper officials say they were going for pragmatic appeal rather than record-setting numbers (see Cisco Grabs a Guinness).

"Our customers would like to not go beyond four or eight" routers connected together, Jacobs says. "They don't want to spend that real estate." In other words, space remains scarce in some points of presence; as bandwidth requirements grow, carriers would rather keep the same number of routers, with each router upgraded to accommodate more traffic, Jacobs asserts.

Naturally, Cisco disagrees. "Space is not the issue. Planning for the future is the bigger concern that the service providers have," says Suraj Shetty, director of marketing for Cisco's router group. He notes that the CRS-1 was built big to increase longevity by putting off the day when the multichassis router has to be ripped out for a higher-capacity design. "The further out you set that breaking point, the better off you are."

It could be years before either argument truly gets tested, because core routers this large remain in slim demand. But Cisco and Juniper had to pursue the core, because carriers are in the throes of replacing their core networks with a converged architecture based on IP and MPLS. It's a rare chance to score some major core wins, and service providers want the winning routers to handle the next several years' worth of growth. "Every single core bid we get our hands on has multichassis on it," Jacobs says.

Cisco continues to dominate core routing, but Juniper has gained ground notably during the past year. Synergy Research Group Inc. figures Juniper's core-router market share at 29 percent after the third quarter of 2004, up from 20 percent at the beginning of the year.

Analysts have attributed the router slide, in part, to Cisco's transition to the CRS-1, as that box uses a different operating system from its predecessor, the GSR 12000 series. "But we expect that Cisco will continue to push its CRS-1 in its effort to recapture some of these share losses," wrote Tal Liani, analyst with Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc., in a report issued last month.

Other competitors to Cisco and Juniper in the core-router space include Axiowave Networks Inc., which recently cut the majority of its staff, and Chiaro Networks Inc., which reported a partnership with ECI Telecom Ltd. (Nasdaq/NM: ECIL) yesterday (see Cutting the Fat (Really) and Chiaro Lands ECI Investment).

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

On Thursday, December 9, at 12 noon New York / 9 a.m. California / 5 p.m. London time, during a free hour-long live Web seminar, representatives from Light Reading, EANTC, Agilent, and Cisco will present the results of the Light Reading CRS-1 test and answer questions about them. Telecom Italia will also be participating.

To register for the December 9 Webinar click here.

For the latest intelligence and analysis of next-generation telecom market opportunities, check out the coming Light Reading Live! event: Light Reading's Telecom Investment Conference, at the exclusive Plaza Hotel in New York City, on Wednesday, December 15, 2004.

For more on this topic, check out:

For further education, visit the archives of related Light Reading Webinars:

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ragho 12/5/2012 | 1:01:21 AM
re: Juniper Unveils the TX
To me, the CRS-1 is a paper tiger until it can see the light of day in true production networks. Are carriers out there who have really committed $$ to building their core with CRS-1?

The T640 has been in production for quite some time now. It is a real tiger, compared to the paper tiger that Cisco is pushing with the CRS-1. It is hilarious to see that LR compares the 46 Tbps in paper to the 1.28 Tbps (actually 4x640=2.56 Tbps according to Cisco math, last I checked) that Juniper can deliver today with the TX.

The TX is an engineering marvel; and I don't discount the fact that the CRS-1 is as well. In fact, I was quite impressed to hear about an OC-768 test, while most carrier's aren't even looking that way. But the reality is that Juniper is catering to the core market with products that meet the needs today.
js2003 12/5/2012 | 1:01:18 AM
re: Juniper Unveils the TX I beleive cisco is no way near to catch up with jnpr when it comes to core boxes.. JNPR T series has been in the production for almost over 2 yrs and folks i talked to seems very happy with JNPR product. Mainly for the following reasons:

1. Customer Commitment
3. Excellent group of Engineer and support staff
pxf 12/5/2012 | 1:01:17 AM
re: Juniper Unveils the TX js2003.. I would dis-agree on the customer commitment and satisfaction.

Lot what I am hearing in market is that Juniper has an attidue now and is not as easy to do business as couple of yrs ago. But yes it is percieved as having a technical edge on competition.

Regarding Engineer Staff etc..there is more to a company than just engineering. It sure has an excellent team but not just engineering, I would give a bigger credit to Scotts vision and excellent marketting machine.
pxf 12/5/2012 | 1:01:17 AM
re: Juniper Unveils the TX We all know the (in)famous LR bias against cisco inc. Looks like bias extends to readers community as well.

Coming back to the thread..
GSR was already in production when T came. It doesn't made T a paper tiger. T gave cisco run for its money and is still giving it. A sure worthy competitor.

To me CRS-1 poses a real threat to Juniper. Right now Juniper doesn't have a good strategy and is forced into a situation where Cisco was 2 yrs ago i.e. re-package the existing offering and compete on the basis of it.
routingfool 12/5/2012 | 1:01:16 AM
re: Juniper Unveils the TX I wouldn't necessarily agree with that, we are multi-vendor and basically they both break alot
or hang, they both must get their hardware from the
same manufacturer :-)
js2003 12/5/2012 | 1:01:16 AM
re: Juniper Unveils the TX Being out in the field everyday competing against both the players ,i have heard and seen 100% customer satisfaction from JNPR customer who used to be or still at some extent Cisco customer as well.
When I asked them why ? they had one response:
They deliver on-time and the boxs does not crash:)

pxf 12/5/2012 | 1:01:16 AM
re: Juniper Unveils the TX "They deliver on-time and the boxs does not crash:)"

Yes. Thats an old world perception. With new aquisitions (read Netscreen and unisphere) the challenge of managing not one Juno OS but three divergent OS (core and edge), things do crash, rather a lot and schedules do slip and customers do become un-happy :)

Wouldn't TX would be a case in example? Delivery of 4 T MUX instead of 8 T MUX. Thanks Goodness there is no customer waiting for it ;)
reflection 12/5/2012 | 1:01:15 AM
re: Juniper Unveils the TX "Wouldn't TX would be a case in example? Delivery of 4 T MUX instead of 8 T MUX. Thanks Goodness there is no customer waiting for it ;)"

Actually, it might only support two T640s. The release notes tell you to contact JTAC if you intend to hook up more than two nodes. This would imply there are some caveats that Juniper does not want to mention publicly.

Also, is the routing engine on the TX more suped up than the one on the T640? Can it handle 4x the number of RIB/FIB entries? arp entries? VRFs? LRs? etc.. It would be silly to upgrade the muscles and not the brains. just curious.
pxf 12/5/2012 | 1:01:14 AM
re: Juniper Unveils the TX reflection:

Couldn't find any concrete data on improved numbers wrt to scalability etc. If you find some please share.

But just on the side note. If my memory serves me right "clustering" was first introduced in RAID servers when the storage was very expensive.

Just from that perspective itself, I see an overhead of memory utilization and CPU usage in terms of managing the cluster state. How much dont know?
coreghost 12/5/2012 | 1:01:14 AM
re: Juniper Unveils the TX I beleive pepsi is no way near to catch up with coke when it comes to core boxes.. coke T series has been in the production for almost over 2 yrs and folks i talked to seems very happy with coke product.
And my mind just turns to pepsi.
I look I see I buy.
Smart drinks cause me to forget
and coke won't get me high.
When a wall of smoothies roughs me up
I walk right back and fill my cup
with pepsi

drink it up!

(in other words, sometimes a choice is no choice
at all)

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