Cisco, Juniper push new mobility-focused products

4G becomes key area of focus for networking giants

The two biggest router companies are focusing their attention on mobility this week with products to address operator needs for rich 4G multimedia services.

Juniper Networks this week announced the availability of three offerings developed under its Project Falcon mobile data initiative. Project Falcon, unveiled last fall, is intended to develop products for the mobile packet core and subscriber management of 4G networks, as well as "universal edge" applications integrating wireline and wireless networks.

Rival Cisco is unveiling the Cisco-branded 4G LTE gateway it obtained from the $US2.9 billion acquisition of Starent Networks. The system, now called the ASR 5000, is the centerpiece of Cisco's Mobile Internet architecture by providing subscriber and customer management for delivery of personalized services.

The vendors are expected to demonstrate some of the new products at this week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The first product under Juniper's Project Falcon is Traffic Direct, which combines subscriber and application policy software with Juniper's new MX 3D Ethernet edge routers. Traffic Direct is designed to offload bulk data traffic from smartphones, netbooks, notebooks and other mobile devices directly to the Internet to improve mobile service and reduce network congestion.

Traffic Direct is slated for second quarter availability.The second product is Juniper Media Flow, which is designed to optimize mobile and fixed networks for efficient video and media delivery to smartphones and other mobile devices. Media Flow software enables adaptive bit streaming for uninterrupted video viewing, and is provided by Juniper partner Ankeena Networks. It will be combined with a Juniper VXA Series content delivery engine to provide video streaming up to 10Gbps per engine.

Media Flow is also expected to be available in the second quarter.

The third product is Juniper's Mobile Core Evolution, a mobile packet core system supporting 3G and 4G services on the same network. Mobile Core Evolution will be based on MX 3D and Junos software to provide 3G and 4G gateway capabilities and scalability of bandwidth, subscribers and services.

Mobile Core Evolution is a key weapon against Cisco's ASR 5000. But the ASR 5000 is available now, while Juniper's Mobile Core Evolution won't go into beta until the fourth quarter.

In addition to the ASR 5000, Cisco is also rolling out what it calls the Mobility Unified Reporting System for the product. This application is intended to provide mobile operators with a set of reporting and management tools to help them optimize network performance, offer customized services and improve the consumer's mobile experience.

Citing its own Visual Networking Index research, Cisco says global mobile data traffic increased 160 percent over the past year, to the equivalent of 23 million DVDs. Global mobile data traffic is growing 2.4 times faster than global fixed broadband data traffic, Cisco says.

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