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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gumbydammit 12/5/2012 | 1:01:08 AM
re: Juniper Unveils the TX
A 20 BILLION dollar paper (enterprise marketing) tiger could also leave a mean scratch.

So, better guard your jugular.

Guess they couldn't call it "Big TX"? :)
I keep thinking Texas....
gotman 12/5/2012 | 1:01:05 AM
re: Juniper Unveils the TX hmmm....Is juniper really making noise about space? Do they really say the CRS is too big and takes to much space?

I'm a customer; I want 1 managed router, I need 40 gig a slot, and I need 16 slots.

I can buy a CRS-1, single chassis, 2 RPs and the cards. All this takes up is one rack space in my POP.

Else I could buy T640x2, TX, 4 RPs. I would need to upgrade the switch fabric, and all the parts and fibre that come with the TX?

This is a rack and a half... And it costs a tone more i would think? Thats half a rack more then Cisco..Now I can't go beyond 2 T640s because Juniper is warning me not too in R.7 unless i call them.

What's the catch Juniper? Would you like to put them in the release notes? Bugger I can't find them!!
tsat 12/5/2012 | 1:01:03 AM
re: Juniper Unveils the TX >I can buy a CRS-1, single chassis, 2 RPs and the cards. All this >takes up is one rack space in my POP.

One 24" wide space. Since most telecom rooms are set
up for 19", you would have to use 2 19" rack spaces.

Suddenly, the space savings of a CRS-1 does not look so
impressive. Also, hope you don't need any ATM interfaces.

andropat 12/5/2012 | 1:01:01 AM
re: Juniper Unveils the TX pxf,

juniper manages 3 oses but the fact remains... m/t routers use same junos it is solid. the erx has it's own os and so is treated separately as if it were it's own company still in some ways.

no doubt that jnpr has scaled to a huge machine and so it's response, attitude, etc., is going to change. that's unfortunately a fact of life.

as far as 4 vs. 8 nodes that was more a comfort and marketing thing. I am sure they had no one waiting for 8 nodes that is now going to be upset. plus it gives them something to announce in 2 years when they can add another 4 nodes to the system.

coreghost 12/5/2012 | 1:01:01 AM
re: Juniper Unveils the TX I can buy a CRS-1, single chassis, 2 RPs and the cards. All this takes up is one rack space in my POP.
Except that the power and heat are so high that
you have leave the racks around it empty to
avoid a meltdown.

The CRS is where we (the industry) have arrived
at by focusing on density without focusing on
power reduction.

The effective rack space of a router is no longer
just the physical dimensions. The calcuation
also involves power, heat and cooling now.

gotman 12/5/2012 | 1:01:01 AM
re: Juniper Unveils the TX I'm so glad you brought this up...Can you please
work out the power, thermal, heat, cooling details for me?? 2 T640s + TX vs CRS-1?

CRS wins in all categories.. it wins on a small margins when it comes to weight tho!! but it does win, and it takes less space and uses less power...

You haven't been next to a CRS yet, now if it uses less of everything compared to a Juniper 3 box solution you would be intelligent enough to work out that it could not give away anymore heat then a T640. Unless Cisco installed a microwave inside it and not told us. But having been next to one, its as cool as a cat!! the only noise are vortexes off the fans!
gotman 12/5/2012 | 1:01:00 AM
re: Juniper Unveils the TX Pat,

What requirements?? I'm showing you apples for apples? 40gig x 16 slot from both vendors. Is that not fair enough ;) Please don't take it personal. I'll get back to you about how its going next week.
gotman 12/5/2012 | 1:01:00 AM
re: Juniper Unveils the TX > Also, hope you don't need any ATM interfaces.

Are you kidding? Do you want me to highlight the feature loss your up against when you go to multichassis with Juniper?

This release sounds nothing but a rather half baked solution from jnpr to downplay something that Cisco is about to release or released already? So was it the LR 40G test? or does Cisco have MC or something else coming soon? 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 tenis, its more fun watching a good match now.

BTW I don't need any ATM interfaces thanks. Please speak to your ATM PIC product manager(if not you) and ask him to show you the ATM sales trends... ATM is great I have no doubt its support is around the cornor, i won't bleed if i don't have it now... I do bleed if I upgrade from a single T640 to multichassis and I loose a feature. This tells me the Junos software isn't built to scale to multichassis. If it is, nothing should change. Supporting 2 LCC or 4 LLC should be the same. Being able to only support 2 and not 4 is another problem. Imagine buying a Porsch and in the manual it says you can only do 80Miles/h. Please call germany if you need to do a 100m on highway 101..hmm
andropat 12/5/2012 | 1:01:00 AM
re: Juniper Unveils the TX gotman,

gotta love these guys with "requirements" that always play right into some "other" solution. I need 16 slots of xGIG vs. 12 vs. 8, etc., etc.,

Go deploy your CRS-1. Let us know how it goes!

andropat 12/5/2012 | 1:01:00 AM
re: Juniper Unveils the TX i agree that they both will break. but in my dealings with both vendors i would choose junos over ios ANYDAY.

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