Juniper buys way into VoIP

Juniper this week said it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire session border controller vendor Kagoor Networks for $67.5 million.

Kagoor's session border control technology will enable Juniper to provide VoIP and other media services to network operators. The Kagoor acquisition gives Juniper its first VoIP specific products.

Session border controllers are primarily deployed at the network edge to facilitate the secure and reliable flow of real-time IP traffic across network boundaries. They enable three main functions: carrier-to-carrier peering, carrier-to-enterprise service enablement and carrier-to-consumer service enablement.

Kagoor's VoiceFlow products are installed in over 100 carriers worldwide, most of which also use Juniper routing and security platforms, Juniper says. And like Juniper, Kagoor has partnerships with Lucent and Siemens.

Kagoor is headquartered in San Mateo, Calif., with R&D is Israel. Juniper says it will use the acquisition to establish an Israeli R&D center.

The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter subject to certain customary closing conditions. Kagoor generated less than $5 million of revenue in 2004.

"The movement of an established security vendor into the session border controller area was inevitable,"  says Mark Seery, IP service infrastructure analyst at RHK. "From a solutions perspective this is a natural move for Juniper to make, and assists then in both the  enterprise and  service  provider markets."

Seery says session border controllers can be deployed by enterprises, service providers offering hosted services, and for operator-to-operator interconnection.

"The amount Juniper is spending ...steers analysis towards assuming that Juniper believes that this is a strategic investment with the assumption this technology sector is about to start ramping - and there are signs that it is," Seery says.  "From the perspective of Juniper's overall cash position, this is a reasonable price to pay for what could turn out to be an important strategic move."

Other analysts say the Kagoor purchase is Juniper's entry into the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) market. IMS is a foundational reference blueprint for service providers to converge wireline and wireless networks and services around IP. 

"We believe the (session border controller) market is a stepping-stone for Juniper to position itself in the high growth IMS space," states Nikos Theodosopoulos of UBS Warburg in a bulletin on the deal. "Presently Juniper seems to be avoiding conflict with partners like Lucent, Ericsson and Siemens by entering areas complimentary to VoIP gateways and softswitches within the IMS architecture. Future potential conflicts may arise should Juniper expand its focus on IMS."

This story, "Juniper buys way into VoIP" was originally published by The Edge.

Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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