Packet core

Juniper's Wireless Worry

Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) might be doing well in expanding its business into the enterprise, but there's concern that the company needs more wireless ammunition against its bigger competitors.

The company got another enterprise ally today, as Dell Technologies (Nasdaq: DELL) announced an OEM agreement. Dell will be selling Juniper's MX routers, EX switches, and SRX gateways under the PowerConnect brand name. (See Juniper Teams With Dell.)

That will give Juniper another sales channel to the enterprise, as the company is already working with IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) -- as are Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO). (See IBM, Juniper Become BFFs.)

The Dell deal "doesn't really screw up the IBM relationship. I don't think IBM and Dell are at each other," says Greg Mesniaeff, an analyst with Needham & Co. His guess is that the IBM deal is more central to Juniper's data-center strategy. In fact, IBM is helping Juniper develop the yet-unexplained Stratus switch fabric. (See Juniper Strikes at the Data Center.)

So, Juniper has made strides with enterprise Ethernet, filling a product hole analysts were griping about two years ago. (See Juniper Storms Into Ethernet Switching and Feature Story: Juniper's Enterprise Vision.) But now they're worrying that Juniper is wanting on the service-provider side. It's like a game of Whac-A-Mole.

"They clearly don't have a wireless strategy yet. They should. That's a hole," says Mesniaeff.

The problem is that carriers increasingly want to buy sets of products -- what vendors like to call (groan) an end-to-end solution. Juniper's strategy has been to win on technology, but "the shift in focus towards a portfolio of solutions makes Juniper less competitive in the changing market," writes analyst Catharine Trebnick of Avian Securities LLC , in a research note published last week.

Trebnick thinks Juniper needs to get a mobile packet core product, specifically. If it's developing one on its own, that's going to take $250 million to $300 million in R&D costs, she writes.

The other option would be an acquisition. Cisco and Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA) have put claims on Starent Networks Corp. (Nasdaq: STAR) and WiChorus, respectively, in the past two weeks. Assuming Juniper doesn't want to start a bidding war for those two, it could try acquiring Stoke Inc. or the mobile core assets of Harris Stratex Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: HSTX), Trebnick writes. (See Cisco to Buy Starent for $2.9B and Cisco/Starent Deal Hurts Juniper.)

Juniper might state its case Oct. 29, as executives will be in New York for a briefing with press and analysts. That morning, they'll also ring the opening bell for the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) ; Juniper jumped to that exchange from Nasdaq earlier this month. (See Juniper to Join NYSE.)

As for what's going to be announced, Juniper hasn't said. But there's a rumor afoot that the company has a new chip and a new logo to show off. (See Juniper's New Look.)

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

MSOLvr 12/5/2012 | 3:53:26 PM
re: Juniper's Wireless Worry

Why the (groan)? Please enlighten me.

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:53:26 PM
re: Juniper's Wireless Worry

Because I really dislike marketing phrases like "end-to-end solution," and I hate it when any product gets called a "solution" in general.

nelson3748 12/5/2012 | 3:53:25 PM
re: Juniper's Wireless Worry no expert so feel frre to add, isn't HSTX getting their packet-core clock cleaned by STAR?
miar70 12/5/2012 | 3:53:25 PM
re: Juniper's Wireless Worry

$250M - $300M is a ridiculous estimate for R&D in a company that already has the chassis, switching and routing technology and application blade environment already in place. The cost to write the LTE applications can be done for much less than $100M by just hiring a few key guys who have done it before. Where to get that talent? Well Cisco might be losing a few and maybe Starent and Nortel. TTM would be the big issue with a minimum 9-18 months from when the teams get started...

roseball 12/5/2012 | 3:53:24 PM
re: Juniper's Wireless Worry

Juniper needs a LTE packet core partner and they need it now. They cant afford to invest in development activities which would easily take 12-18 months to develop a working solution/product. One of the options is to partner with Hitachi for LTE Core. Hitachi just bought Nortel LTE Core which was reportedly ranked the best core during Verizon trials last year but couldnot win a contract due to Nortel's Ch11 filing.

Photon_Got_Mad 12/5/2012 | 3:53:23 PM
re: Juniper's Wireless Worry

For one, never quite understand the rationale behind Hitachi's move on part of NT's LTE packet core asset. Do they make LTE access equipment or do they make packet switching products?

Besides, I don't believe the property Hitachi got from NT's LTE business is the total package (some patents/Intellectual properties here and there). That alone cannot be labled as a LTE packet core solution. Agree??? How much you can buy anyway for only $10M?

miar70 12/5/2012 | 3:53:23 PM
re: Juniper's Wireless Worry

Yes a decent offering for sure, but if I were Juniper (which I am not) I would be leaning towards NSN and doing something through the JV they just established. It would make more sense from a solution perspective as they would have a decent carrier ethernet backhaul story integrated into LTE packet core and all under a unified management system. They could get that done with just a few marketing guys and some interop testing. A real coup would be if they could sign NSN up so that they provide the core nodes on Juniper platforms moving forward. Could be good for both partners...

janardhana 12/5/2012 | 3:53:22 PM
re: Juniper's Wireless Worry

I agree. There is no real "End-to-end solution" in this business and  there is no "one -stop-shopping" either.

chrisfox 12/5/2012 | 3:53:17 PM
re: Juniper's Wireless Worry

i cant imagine Stoke in play for this, which is pretty much a zombie after all that many years.  almost all team has been replaced (couple of times) and technology is old now.  their ipsec box seems to have some play, but that alone hardly counts... 

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