Juniper Improves Performance, Automation in MX Edge Routers

The new capabilities will help telcos and enterprises as they build networks to meet the growing demands for cloud services and HD video.

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Juniper Networks is making improvements to its lineup of edge routers to increase throughput performance and expand network automation for both service providers and enterprises.

The company is introducing new line cards and software enhancements to its MX Series 3D universal edge routers that officials said will help triple the throughput, ease the migration to software-defined networking (SDN) and network-functions virtualization (NFV), and enable the development of third-party applications to run on the vendor's Junos network operating system.

The new capabilities come as telecommunications vendors are under increasing pressure to add more capacity to their infrastructure as consumers and businesses demand more high-definition video, cloud services and always-on collaboration tools, according to Juniper officials. At the same time, enterprises are building more sophisticated networks that support private and hybrid clouds and flexible wide-area networks (WANs).

The increasing popularity of social media and Web browsing and the rapid growth of the Internet of things (IoT) also are driving demand for greater network capacity and flexibility, officials said.

"Every day, it seems, we see eye-popping Internet-related headlines: global e-Commerce sales rising at 20 percent annually; 300-plus hours of video uploaded to YouTube per minute; nearly 1.5 billion monthly active Facebook users in mid-2015; new services, new applications," Tom DiMicelli, senior manager of service provider portfolio marketing at Juniper, wrote in a post on the company blog. "And all the forecasts point to 'more' … whether it's more connected devices (IoT), more mobile subscribers, more video, more access bandwidth. Always more. Lots more. Of course, this 'more' is placing a tremendous strain on network resources, and network budgets."

Juniper's MX Series is powered by the vendor's Junos Trio chips and its Junos software, and is designed to help telcos and enterprises as they move into SDN and NFV. The new MX Series line cards also run on the Trio silicon. The 400 Gigabit Ethernet-ready MCP9 line card offers 1.6T bps of throughput, which enables an MX2020 router to scale to 32T bps, which officials said can stream more than 2 million 4K videos at the same time. In addition, the MPC7 line card doubles the performance and density of all current MX240, MX480 and MX960 routers, which not only boosts the systems' capabilities but also protects the investments customers have already made in Juniper routers. The company also is introducing the MPC8 line card.

In addition, the new Juniper Extension Toolkit (JET) uses open APIs that bring greater automation capabilities to the Junos software, officials said. A programmable interface enables the development of customized third-party applications for such features as provisioning and self-healing, and the applications. JET is not designed only for the MX Series; it is available on all Juniper systems that run the Junos software, officials said.

It also supports the OpenConfig configuration and management capability through customizable YANG data models.

The Junos Telemetry Interface optimizes network performance and fault management and helps with SDN and NFV migrations by synchronizing operation states to external controllers. It offers analytics and real-time data correlation for real-time reporting.

All the new capabilities will be available in the first half of 2016.

Juniper has been selling its MX Series since 2006, and according to company officials, more than 90 percent of the 50 largest telcos use the routers. On average, the vendor has sold an MX Series router every hour since the portfolio was introduced almost 10 years ago. The company has seen recent success in the competitive router space. IHS Infonetics analysts said that in the third quarter, Juniper was second in global market share for service provider routing revenue. Dell'Oro Group analysts said that in the same quarter, sales from Juniper—as well as Alcatel-Lucent and ZTE—outpaced the overall market.

"You know you're onto something when you have a platform that has continually outpaced Moore's Law since the first MX shipped in 2006," Jonathan Davidson, executive vice president and general manager of development and innovation at Juniper, said in a statement. "In an industry that's constantly touting the 'new,' it's important to remember that customers are making significant technology investments with the expectation that it will continue to deliver [return on investment] for many years."