For large enterprises and data centers, the new Juniper M120 router can serve as a WAN gateway linking multiple sites across different carrier networks or the Internet.
The router supports converged voice, video and data applications, ensuring consistent QOS (quality of service) across the different network boundaries through MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching), according to Alan Sardella, product marketing manager of Juniper, in Sunnyvale, Calif.
"There are data center applications where you might have Secure Sockets Layer tunnels connecting many branch offices into the data center, and you might want to map those tunnels into an MPLS Label Switch Path tunnel to then get guarantees on traffic engineering characteristics you need between different enterprise sites," he explained.
"So you get a secure, virtualized enterprise core and security for server access tunneled through the Internet."
For telecommunications carriers or cable operators, the M120 provides greater service agility and "the operational efficiencies they need to guarantee that services enterprises might buy, such as leased line services, ATM [asynchronous transfer mode] circuits of frame relay connections, will have the same [SLAs (service-level agreements)] as the MPLS Label Switch Path or as Layer 2 or Layer 3 VPNs," Sardella said.
It also brings such MPLS service quality characteristics as peak information rates, committed information rates and maximum burst sizes that "dont come naturally to Ethernet" to that ubiquitous networking technology, Sardella said.
Still, carriers and cable operators may be more impressed with the M120s high-availability features that allow a replacement module occupying a single slot in the router to serve as the failover point for all other modules, according to Eve Griliches, an industry analyst with International Data Corp., in Framingham, Mass.
"They separated the forwarding processing from the I/O modules so that you dont have all forwarding and I/O processing on the same card. In the past, to protect a processing card you had to do it on a one-to-one basis [one failover module for each processing card]. Now if any one of 12 cards fail, it goes to the [single] backup card. Thats really hard to do.
"Carriers will love that. You cant make money on that as a carrier, but the fact that it adds so much more reliability to your network is a way to sustain your revenues," she said.
The M120 is a 120 Gigabit router that supports a wide range of interfaces, from DS-0 to OC-192. Juniper also added new Ethernet services modules to the mix. The M120, which implements the Juniper JUNOS operating system, is based on a new ASIC (application-specific interface circuit), called the I-chip. The ASIC implements the packet forwarding engine, enabling the M120 to support high port densities and a large number of logical interfaces—up to 100,000, according to Sardella.
For service providers it can be used as a small to medium-sized point of presence as a multiservice edge router; as an Internet peering router with 10G Ethernet uplinks in small and medium core networks; as a single point of presence router supporting edge services and backbone routing; and as an Ethernet aggregation router at the multiservice edge, providing up to 128 Gigabit Ethernet subscriber ports and two 10G Ethernet uplinks.
As a multiservice edge router, it can support a mix of frame relay, ATM and Ethernet interfaces, as well as a variety of Layer 2 and Layer 3 VPN services.
The M120 is due in October, and a typical configuration starts at about $100,000.