Juniper Upgrades the Core

Yes, it's time for another round of big numbers for core routers.

Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) came out today saying it's upgrading its T series to 250 Gbit/s per slot.

That appears to be a pre-emptive strike against Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), which is said to be readying an announcement involving per-slot capacity of 120 Gbit/s. Cisco's plan could involve an upgrade to the CRS-1, rather than a wholly new box. (See Rumor: Cisco Prepping CRS-1 Successor.)

Juniper's numbers, at least on paper, would also outdo the 100 Gbit/s per slot touted so far by Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. In theory, Juniper says, it will be able to get 4 Tbit/s through a half-rack box.

Technically, all Juniper is announcing for now is a new switch fabric that will expand the system's switching capacity. Trial systems with the fabric should arrive later this year, with real sales to start in 2011.

The other piece, to come later, would be the interface cards that take advantage of the newly opened bandwidth. These will include cards sporting 10-, 40-, and 100-Gbit/s ports, says Alan Sardella, Juniper's senior product marketing manager.

The upgrade continues Juniper's trend of using its own chips for its franchise router lines. The company announced in October that it's similarly upgrading its edge routers, under the flashy name MX 3D, with a chipset called Trio. Those chips will be the foundation for another Juniper in-house project: a mobile packet core, to counter Cisco's acquisition of Starent. (See Juniper Takes Over the Network, Juniper Looks Inward for Wireless, Juniper's Wireless Worry, and Cisco/Starent Deal Hurts Juniper.)

When might Juniper start considering merchant processors or switch fabrics for its franchise routers?

"There's a New Yorker cartoon -- I don't know if you've ever seen it -- where this guy's going through his datebook and says, 'How about Never? Does Never work for you?' " Sardella says. Juniper's concern is that an outside chip isn't going to strike exactly the combination of intelligence, table sizes, power, and space that Juniper would need. "To be commercially viable at this stage, you've got to do it yourself," he notes.

Sardella claims the T series has the headroom for yet another capacity upgrade, but Juniper isn't giving out details about that.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:43:22 PM
re: Juniper Upgrades the Core

I know, I know, you guys hate the stories about the marketing numbers.  :)  You have to admit, though, Juniper's come up with some interesting numbers.

A lot of Juniper's success depends on keeping a step ahead of Cisco, at least on the marketing front, so it's not surprising they've put this out.

mgozi 12/5/2012 | 4:43:17 PM
re: Juniper Upgrades the Core It is quite surprising that here in South Africa most big players like Telkom SA still prefers the combination of CISCO, Alcatel and Siemens. The likes of Huawei and Juniper still have a lot to do to convince these big telecom players. The ISPs too still prefers CISCO over Juniper. Most ISPs and some other Incumbent operators hold Gold SLA partnership with CISCO. The majority of local based engineers hold CISCO certified qualifications. This has gone as far as GÇ£if you are not a CISCO certified engineerGÇ¥ it's become so difficult to convince the telecom companies that you can still do the job. It's all about CISCO after all i.e. from the customer edge routers to provider edge up to the core. The likes of Alcatel and Siemens are there just to complement a complete strategy not necessary as competitors. The ADVA optical too are not too far from these players to the likes of Telkom SA (Incumbent) and Neotel SA ( second operator) with their FSP 3000 systems.
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