Juniper rolls out latest Cisco challenge

Juniper claims its differentiators are the single Junos software across this line and most of its other products, straightforward scalability and some service and support enhancements

Juniper Networks this week is rolling out its first dedicated line of enterprise edge routers, a collection of products that borrow technology from the company's powerful service provider routers and that will give customers a new alternative to Cisco ASR gear.

Juniper says the new MX routers allow customer to scale from 20Gbps up to 2.6Tbps via the existing MX960. Juniper claims its differentiators are the single Junos software across this line and most of its other products, straightforward scalability and some service and support enhancements.

IN PICTURES: First look at Juniper MX enterprise router line

The new products should give Juniper a shot at cutting into Cisco's stronghold in enterprise routers, a market that Dell'Oro Group said was worth $3.3 billion in 2010. Cisco held an 82 per cent share while Juniper was a distant second with a 5.5 per cent share.

Dell'Oro believes a new generation of Juniper enterprise routers based on its 80Gbps MX80 model, which began shipping last year, may accelerate some market share gains. Other analysts agree, though say those gains will not likely be dramatic.

"The hardest area to take business from Cisco is the router space," says Zeus Kerrevala of the Yankee Group. "Cisco has such a lock on the enterprise router space I'm not sure a better mousetrap will make a difference. These will get them some share but it's going to be one step at a time."

Those steps start with the MX5, a 20Gbps router that features 20 Gigabit Ethernet SFP interfaces and a variety of WAN interfaces: four to eight OC-3s, two to eight OC-12s, one to four OC-48s, and eight DS-3s.

In fact, all of these WAN options are shared across the MX line, Juniper says.

The MX10 is a 40Gbps router with two slots for LAN interface modules -- the same 20 Gigabit Ethernet card as the MX5, and a dual 10G Ethernet CFO card. The MX40 is a 60Gbps router that carries the 20 Gigabit Ethernet and dual-port 10G cards, to go along with the two 10G Ethernet ports already integrated into the device.

The new MX routers also include Junos Space Service Now software, which is designed to simplify and automate technical support by eliminating most manual support operations; and J-Web, a Web-based application designed to enable connectivity and management of the devices and reduce onsite support requirements.

All routers are software license upgradeable to support added features and functions, Juniper says.

Cisco's ASR routers, meanwhile, scale from 2.5Gbps for the ASR 1002 to 360Gbps for the ASR 1013. WAN and LAN interface options include two- and four-port channelized and clear channel T-3/E-3; four-port serial interface; eight-port channelized T-1/E-1; four- and eight-port 10/100 Ethernet; two-, five-, eight- and 10-port Gigabit Ethernet; one-port 10 Gigabit Ethernet; and two- and four-port OC-3 packet over SONET (PoS), and one-port OC-12 PoS.

Pricing for the Cisco ARS series starts at $35,000 while Juniper's new MX line starts at $29,500 for the MX5.

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Tags NetworkingDellrouterroutersjuniper networksnetworking hardwareDell'OroLAN & WANJuniper routers

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