Juniper Takes MPLS Into Mobile Access
Juniper says the routers represent a capacity jump, with 10Gbit/s links and a throughput of 60 Gbit/s on the biggest model, the ACX4000. The bigger concept is that the ACX line lets MPLS tunnels run all the way to the access network, giving carriers a chance to do traffic engineering further out in the network.
The routers could eventually go into any kind of access network (DSL and PON, for instance), but the initial target will be mobile networks, particularly those that are expected to make the jump to Long Term Evolution (LTE).
To that end, the ACXs are outdoors-hardened, for deployment at cell sites. They also include Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) 1588v2 timing synchronization technology that Juniper acquired from Brilliant Telecommunications a year ago.
The ACX routers are due to ship during the third quarter of 2012.
Why this matters
Juniper claims MPLS has become relevant to the access network because of the speed at which traffic is growing, especially in mobile networks. That's where operators will have the most serious need for traffic engineering, says Alan Sardella, a Juniper senior product marketing manager.
"You want there to be intelligent management of these things users are going to pay for," Sardella says. Juniper thinks that's true in a defensive way (making sure mobile users get enough bandwidth) and an offensive way (creating new moneymaking services that involve directing traffic in the access network). Extending MPLS tunnels could also mean being able to provision services without having to touch so many points in the network. Sardella pictures operators being able to assign SLAs to individual customers or groups of users.
A bit more about MPLS and the network's edges.
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading