Juniper enhances edge offerings

'Service-Built' extensions intended to drive carrier revenue.

Juniper Networks last week unveiled new and enhanced products designed to let service providers derive more revenue from the edge of their networks.

Juniper Networks last week unveiled new and enhanced products designed to let service providers derive more revenue from the edge of their networks.

Under the umbrella "Service-Built Edge," Juniper rolled out an E-series edge router, an Ethernet services interface for its M-series routers, enhancements to its products' broadband aggregation capabilities, and virtual private LAN service (VPLS) and packet flow accounting software. The new and enhanced products are intended to make services at the edge more profitable by enabling tiered service offerings that will entice users to upgrade and to deliver a greater ROI, Juniper says.

"Every carrier is faced with driving top-line revenue," says Mark Bieberich, an analyst at The Yankee Group. "The edge is where services are defined and accountable. They need to implement the most reliable and scalable edge infrastructure possible."

Juniper says 20 of the top 25 service providers worldwide are "service building" their edge networks.

Juniper is the second-leading edge router company, behind Cisco. In broadband aggregation, Juniper is No. 1, with 52% of the $69 million worldwide market for the first quarter of this year, Gartner says (see story for more on the router market).

Last week's announcements are intended to solidify and increase that lead. One weapon in that effort is the new edge router, which is called the ERX 310.

The ERX 310 is optimized for low-density service areas. It features three line-card slots and can use existing E-series router line cards for investment protection, Juniper says.

The ERX 310 supports 4,000 fractional T-1/E-1 circuits and up to 16,000 subscribers.

The Ethernet services interface, meanwhile, comes in single- and dual-port Gigabit Ethernet varieties. It uses Juniper's previously announced Q Performance processor for enhanced quality of service, and supports per virtual LAN quality of service and packet accounting.

The broadband aggregation enhancements include secure remote access via IP Security; support for IPv6; and the ability to accommodate up to 48,000 subscribers per router without having to disable any services.

The VPLS software is based on Multi-protocol Label Switching's Kompella draft for Layer 2 integration with an IP/MPLS core. It is designed to provide multipoint-to-multipoint Ethernet services between metropolitan areas.

The VPLS software supports autodiscovery of nodes and routes, and inter-autonomous system capabilities so large carriers can interwork their networks and with those of their partners.

The packet-flow accounting capability is called J-flow and helps align billing with actual network resource consumption through sampling and stateful monitoring of up to one million flows.

J-flow also can be used for network planning purposes, and operates independent of the data path. It augments the existing per byte/service/subscriber/interface accounting of Juniper's edge routers.

Juniper also says its SDX-300 Service Deployment System now includes an Application Admission Control module that lets service providers provide, and bill for, "assured" user experiences. The module's awareness of access network congestion points facilitates this assurance.

Bieberich says Juniper's challenges in this market are the same for all players: gain more market share, stave off incursions from competitors, and continually improve the scalability and reliability of its products.

"Carriers are telling them that," he says. "You'll see quite a bit of [research and development] and improvement from all vendors over the next couple of years."

Most of the enhancements are included in new JUNOS software version upgrades, so there's no charge for those for existing users.

The ERX 310 costs $25,000. Pricing for the Ethernet services interface card starts at $30,000.

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Copyright © 2003 IDG Communications, Inc.