• United States
Managing Editor

Infranets R Us

Apr 27, 20042 mins

* Juniper has friends for its crusade

Juniper Networks announced the formation of an organization that endorses the company’s stated goal of creating a profitable public IP network.

The so-called Infranet Initiative Council (IIC) combines large companies from various facets of the computer and communications industries, including IBM; Oracle; Juniper channel partners Lucent, Ericsson and Siemens; and service providers BT and Orange. Sources say the IIC will also include a large U.S. carrier – which some speculate may be MCI – as well as international service provider Deutsche Telekom and an unidentified carrier in the Asia Pacific region.

Notably absent is Cisco. Cisco did not comment by press time.

The IIC fleshes out Juniper’s “call to action” last fall to unite the industry around a common vision for public networking that attempts to resolve some shortcomings the vendor says are inherent in the Internet. Juniper is proposing the definition of two interfaces – a user-to-network interface between customers and service providers, and a so-called inter-carrier interface between service providers – that will facilitate the construction of an “infranet” combining the ubiquitous connectivity of the Internet with the predictable performance and security of a private network.

The IIC hopes that this infranet will ultimately provide the global infrastructure required to support machine-to-machine grid computing, unlock the full potential of Web-enabled applications and finally usher in the era of the online economy.

As the cost per bit plummets, service providers have to add value to bit transport by tying the network tightly with their customers’ applications. Service providers have to sell application or content services in addition to bit transport services, the IIC posits.

The IIC is proposing a network/application framework based on business-related “strata,” according to a white paper on the organization’s Web site. The “Control Stratum” and “Data Stratum” represent the protocol-linked connection and transport layers of the network, while the “Signaling Stratum” is analogous to the application layer of the OSI model.

The model also includes a “trust barrier” at the infranet edge for security, and user authentication and access.

Managing Editor

Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 28 years, 23 at Network World. He covers enterprise networking infrastructure, including routers and switches. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy and at

More from this author