Juniper Takes MPLS Into Mobile Access

Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) is making a push for Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) to get into the mobile access network, with the ACX line of routers being announced Tuesday.

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.

For more
A bit more about MPLS and the network's edges.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Garci 12/5/2012 | 5:43:19 PM
re: Juniper Takes MPLS Into Mobile Access

I fail to see what's new of claiming that the CSR (Cell Site Router) can do MPLS. AlcaLu's 7705 has been MPLS enabled since day 1 and while some of the boxes could indeed be considered as "aggregation" (like the SAR-8 and SAR-18), the SAR-F is clearly a cell-site box and is full MPLS capable.

Not just too late for Juniper, but also nothing new I must say!

torivar 12/5/2012 | 5:43:09 PM
re: Juniper Takes MPLS Into Mobile Access

I would agree ALU has had boxes doing similar things for years now, including full RSVP-TE/FRR support and with the latest version of their software on the 7705/7210 they actually support L3VPN, VPLS, and P2P Ethernet services.  What Juniper is bringing to the game is the backplane to do 10GE which the 7705 series does not have.  The 7210 does support TDM interfaces but not on the SAS-X which these Juniper boxes more compete with than the SAS-M. 

Even on the 7210 ALU does not have a product which competes with the 2U 4000 node which can support more 10GE interfaces than anything ALU has out today.  

This is more of a product to play catch-up and give providers using Juniper aggregation nodes like the MX series an end to end Juniper solution.  


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