Falcon's real name is MobileNext, and it's implemented in software on Juniper's MX 3D routers. It includes the MobileNext Broadband Gateway, which can play roles such as Long Term Evolution (LTE)'s packet gateway and serving gateway. There's also the MobileNext Policy Manager, which handles LTE's Policy and Charging Rules Function (PCRF).
These items will work with the MobileNext Control Gateway -- a standalone appliance (meaning it's not on the MX 3D router), also being announced Monday, that handles the mobile core's signaling plane.
One key to these pieces will be Junos Space, the program that lets other companies develop software for Juniper's Junos operating system. With Space in place, Juniper is calling MobileNext the world's first open mobile core.
Separately, Juniper is announcing the Service Delivery Gateway, which does reside on the MX 3D and handles functions including network address translation, firewalling, subscriber awareness and load balancing. At Mobile World Congress, Juniper intends to announce some customers for the Service Delivery Gateway, says Kittur Nagesh, senior director of marketing for mobility and security.
Juniper doesn't have any customer announcements for MobileNext; in fact, the technology is not yet deployed in any carrier network, Nagesh says. A previously mentioned beta test was happening in a carrier lab.
Why this matters
The big-picture importance of Falcon comes from the acquisition of Starent by Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), because Starent was assumed to have been Juniper's partner for the mobile core. Even though Juniper claims Falcon has been in development for years, the Starent deal temporarily turned the mobile network into a Juniper liability. Now, Juniper has its response.
One key aspect to MobileNext is its openness. Juniper is betting that the IP network -- especially in the mobile case -- is primed for an open environment, and all of its software is being tailored accordingly. Clearly, this is how Juniper hopes to make its mark in mobile.
A young person's guide to Project Stratus (and to Juniper's software obsession):
- Juniper's Stratus, Falcon Go Beta
- Who Makes What: LTE Evolved Packet Cores
- Juniper's Falcon Lands at CTIA
- Juniper Challenges Cisco in the Mobile Core
- Juniper Looks Inward for Wireless
- Juniper's Wireless Worry
- Cisco/Starent Deal Hurts Juniper
- Juniper Moves Emphasize Carriers & Software
- Juniper Unveils Junos Space SDK
- Juniper Takes Over the Network
- Interview: Stefan Dyckerhoff, Juniper EVP of Infrastructure
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading