INTEROP - Juniper reveals branch router plans

Juniper says low-end routers will include sophisticated security

Expect Juniper to roll out low-end branch-office routers over the next year as it tries to supply equipment for small businesses and branch offices, the new head of the company's branch-office business said during an interview at Interop.

The goal is to put boxes in branches that support headquarters-like performance and availability, says Alex Gray, vice president and general manager of the company's branch products, which include the J-Series routers and SSG security gateways.

He says that while the products will be less expensive and designed for a few or single users, they will have more sophisticated security than is typical in small office or home office routers that sell for $100. "We're not aiming to be a Linksys or a SOHO supplier," Gray says.

One hallmark will be that when all the security features are turned on, performance won't slow noticeably, he says. This is important because Nemertes Research says branches are increasingly using more high-bandwidth applications such as video and collaboration.

The boxes could also draw the interest of service providers, who use them as customer premises equipment in managed-router/security services coupled with raw connectivity. Verizon is one such customer.

"They haven't gotten down to offices of two or three people," Gray says. "They want the right price-point [for the CPE]."

Over the next year Gray's business unit will add more services to the J-Series routers such as high-end intrusion detection and unified threat management. Upgrades to the J-Series management to handle these new services will incorporate the new features as they are released, Gray says

Also coming in the next year is onboard redundancy in J-Series gear. Two boxes have to be tied together in high-availability mode, he says. This will boost network availability, something customers say they are concerned about when they go to a single device in a branch office. If it fails the entire branch goes down.

Gray counters that in an office with multiple devices -- firewalls, routers, intrusion detection, antivirus, antispam -- any one failing can bring down the rest. Gray has been with Juniper for about three months, formerly running the carrier-class products for Extreme Networks and before that serving as that company's COO.

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