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Optical/IP Networks

Juniper's 'Pepsi' Set to Pop

Juniper Networks Inc.'s (Nasdaq: JNPR) low-end router line, code named "Pepsi," is ready for launch, according to a research note released yesterday.

Three routers in the family are going to be introduced next week, ranging in size from 8 Mbit/s to 96 Mbit/s, writes analyst Steve Kamman of CIBC World Markets.

Officially called the "J" series, the routers correspond to Cisco Systems Inc.'s (Nasdaq: CSCO) 1700, 2600/2700, and 3600/3700 lines, Kamman writes. That's along the lines of what has been expected since news of Pepsi emerged earlier this year (see Juniper: The Other Cola? ).

Juniper officials declined to comment.

Based on figures from the Dell'Oro Group, Kamman estimates the low-end and "low/mid-range" router market at $2 billion to $2.5 billion. But he also notes it's an area where Cisco holds about 90 percent market share. Once the J-series becomes available in the second half of 2004, Kamman believes Juniper will face some heavy lifting in terms of distribution. The company also will have to put resources into training its new enterprise customers.

"It will be hard slogging to change hearts and minds -- although Juniper’s street-credibility gives it a good jumping-off point," he writes. "As such, we would not expect to see rapid market share gains. If Juniper does gain traction in this market, it will likely come gradually."

Kamman expects Juniper to integrate security and traffic management from NetScreen Technologies into the J-series, a factor which he believes was "one of the key motivators" for the $4 billion NetScreen acquisition (see Juniper Buys NetScreen).

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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