Juniper Launches Another Cable Attack
BroadBananas Michael Harris 4/15/2005
Watching Cisco Systems leverage its DOCSIS CMTS products to build a dominant position in core and edge IP routing with cable service providers has maddened rival Juniper Networks over the years. So much so that Juniper plunked down $200 million to acquire CMTS start-up Pacific Broadband Communications in January 2001. Through PBC Juniper picked up a top-notch CMTS solution, which they hoped to integrate with its routing product line. Alas, Juniper was unable to quickly turn that promise into sales, ironically due to some layer-3 issues with PBC's CMTS product and a complicated reseller relationship with Scientific-Atlanta. When the CMTS market headed south, Juniper opted to exit the business in August 2003. Shortly thereafter, the CMTS category began to rebound thanks to the start of cable VoIP rollouts in 2004. C'est la vie. At the National Show last week, Juniper formally announced it is knocking on the cable industry's door again. Juniper unveiled software that enables its existing SDX-300 Service Deployment System to serve as both a PacketCable Multimedia (PCMM) policy server and application manager. By handling dynamic bandwidth management and event-based accounting for multimedia applications, these PCMM elements will play a critical role in MSOs' efforts to offer next-gen IP applications, such as SIP video and voice communications. Juniper execs say they plan to enter the SDX-300 into a PCMM qualification wave at CableLabs this year. Clearly, Juniper is hoping that by jumping in the middle of cable's IP quality of service (QoS) management infrastructure, they can convince MSOs to bite on their routers, which have well regarded IP MPLS implementations. Interestingly, the only cable IP network element Cisco Systems does not offer today is a PCMM policy server. Will they crank one out internally or snap-up one of two available policy server start-ups: Camiant or CableMatrix? Juniper also announced it has hired Andy Audet to lead its latest cable charge. While serving as GM of Motorola's original cable group in the mid 1990s, Audet helped Moto win the early battle for proprietary cable modem gear. However, that Moto group was leapfrogged by Cisco and others in the DOCSIS market. Only by acquiring General Instrument and RiverDelta Networks was Motorola able to buy its way back into a strong DOCSIS market position. After leaving Motorola, Audet served as CEO of two start-ups, OSS player Lemur Networks and silicon developer Chinook Communications. As neither were able to gain meaningful cable market traction, Audet and Juniper are obviously optimistic that Audet can work some of that early Motorola magic in cable again.