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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Stevery 12/5/2012 | 1:00:59 AM
re: Juniper Unveils the TX jnpr you now are in the same place csco was in 2001-2002.. The difference you have a T640 3 year old technology, Cisco has a CRS! Cisco survived jnpr will survive. Its fun watching tennis, its more fun watching a good match now.

I couldn't agree more. CSCO is prepared for the next upgrade cycle, JNPR is not. Will the cycle start tomorrow? no. Eventually? yes.

More Kudos to CSCO, for causing such vitriol on this board about the CRS. Quite a compliment to them! If the product was a noop, nobody would bother.

-- Steve
pxf 12/5/2012 | 1:00:59 AM
re: Juniper Unveils the TX Here are some interesting facts I was able to collect
CSR1 :
Dimensions: 84 x 23.6 x 35
Weight: 1600lbs
Power Draw: 12000W
Heat Dissip: 41000BTU

2xT640 :
Dimensions: 76 x 17.5 x 31
Weight: 1130lbs
Power Draw: 13000W
Heat Dissip: 44,400BTU

Regarding QoS and Multicast. same linitations as observed in T640. 2xT640 lots of improvment in brawns but no tweak in the brain. Considerable overhead of managing cluster state.
gotman 12/5/2012 | 1:00:58 AM
re: Juniper Unveils the TX Thanks for publishing those PXF. You forgot to include the TX factor. That would push this out even more, and the CRS would win all the races.
fiat_lux 12/5/2012 | 1:00:58 AM
re: Juniper Unveils the TX Juniper: 2 T640s + TX = 17550W, 64 OC-192s: 274W / OC-192.

Cisco: 1 CSR1 = 12000W, 64 OC-192s: 188W / OC-192.

Avici: 2 TSRs = 15000W, 80 OC-192s: 188W / OC-192.

Actually Avici wins on power as soon as CSR starts to waste power on fabric shelves for a multi-bay system.
coreghost 12/5/2012 | 1:00:57 AM
re: Juniper Unveils the TX More Kudos to CSCO, for causing such vitriol on this board about the CRS. Quite a compliment to them! If the product was a noop, nobody would bother.
I dont see as much vitroil as enthusiasm so
false as to be laughable. We get the lightreading
test last week and then we get the customer
announcements this week (I think?). Its a
marketing campaign and everyone is doing their

But who are you marketing to? The division of
the market with Juniper isn't going to be
significantly changed by much of anything.

jepovic 12/5/2012 | 1:00:54 AM
re: Juniper Unveils the TX Juniper's success with M- and T-boxes was about the reliable and consistent software, not about the throughput.

In the same way, the threat CRS-1 poses to Juniper is not about the throughput, it's about the software. On a conceptual a theoretical level, the new Cisco OS is way better than JunOS - easier to manage, better security, more flexible. If they can make it work in the real world, Juniper is in big trouble.

Clustering is sooo uninteresting from an operator's viewpoint. Easier-to-manage routers are always interesting.
opticalwatcher 12/5/2012 | 1:00:52 AM
re: Juniper Unveils the TX It is like a three ring boxing match:

Cisco's CRS-1 Passes Our Test
Juniper Unveils the TX
Cisco Scores CRS-1 Customers

Three Lightreading message boards for Cisco and Juniper employees to battle it out.
pxf 12/5/2012 | 1:00:51 AM
re: Juniper Unveils the TX Spelurker,

You don;t expect yourself to lift the boxes and install them. You are getting more metal for your money :)

Chasis re-inforcement and cooling does add lot of wait. Never seen if weight has been a big factor in SP's buying decision.
spelurker 12/5/2012 | 1:00:51 AM
re: Juniper Unveils the TX > Juniper: 2 T640s + TX = 17550W, 64 OC-192s: 274W / OC-192.
> Cisco: 1 CSR1 = 12000W, 64 OC-192s: 188W / OC-192.
> Avici: 2 TSRs = 15000W, 80 OC-192s: 188W / OC-192.

One other category you forgot:
Cisco has now leapfrogged the others on weight as well! 1600lb?!? holy crap!

I am flabberghasted at how the network operators can put up with the installation headaches this sort of thing must cause. (Must have 8' tall doors from loading dock to equipment room, must be able to remove 19" racks, must have reinforced floors, need to be able to install in a place that won't block off existing racks of other equipment, need enough electrical power to fire an elephant with a rail gun...)
I'd love to see a video of an average installation.
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