Juniper enhances branch-office network gear

Two new SSG and two new J-Series models run on common hardware

Juniper is announcing two hardware platforms designed to streamline branch-office infrastructure by supporting multiple functions in a single box.

The devices are smaller members of existing product families specifically created for small branch offices or for single-office businesses that want to reduce the number of individual devices they have to deploy. Each hardware device cab supports either of two Juniper operating systems -- security-based ScreenOS or router-based JUNOS -- making for a total of four new models. If the hardware is configured with ScreenOS the devices are called SSG 320M and SSG 350M. If they are configured with JunOS, the devices are called J2320 and J2350.

"This gives more flexibility for customers that have a range of branch offices," says Andrew Braunberg, an analyst with Current Analysis. The devices compete against Cisco ISR multifunction platforms.

The SSG and J-Series families have different characteristics based on the strengths of the individual operating sytems. The SSG's strength is security, with support for firewall, VPN, antivirus, antispam and Web filtering.

The J-Series strength is in routing, but it also supports a firewall and VPN as well as VoIP. Juniper says it has plans for J-Series gear to also support application acceleration and advanced security.

Only the J-Series devices support Avaya IP telephony via a VoIP gateway card that enables call-center support, conferencing, local voice announcements, music on hold and encryption of voice traffic. The module can access a centrally located Avaya Communication Manager IP PBX as a way to tie into the corporate phone network beyond the branch office.

On the other hand, the new SSG devices come with an encryption card standard. In the J-Series, the encryption card is optional.

Each of the hardware platforms comes with slots for installing physical interface modules (PIM) that include three new modules that fit into both the new and older model SSG and J-Series chassis.

The new PIM modules are and eight-port and a 16-port 10/100/1000 Ethernet card as well as a six-port optical Gigabit Ethernet card.

Juniper also is announcing two new management appliances. The NSMXpress comes preloaded with management software for Juniper's ScreenOS-based gear that includes the SSG, ISG, IDP, NS and NetScreen family devices. NSMXpress supports as many as 500 of these devices.

Braunberg says NSMXpress makes sense for businesses that are trying to simplify branch management by consolidating functions on a single device.

The device is an alternative to buying the software and loading it on a server.

Juniper is announcing NSM Central Manager that can manage as many as 10 NSM servers, making it possible to centrally manage 30,000 firewall/VPN devices, the company says.

Pricing for the new gear is: J2320, US$2,500 to US$4,000; J2350, US$3,500 to US$5,000; SSG 320M, US$3,500 to US$4,000; SSG 350M, US$4,500 to US$5,000. NSMXpress starts at US$10,000 and NSM Central Manager starts at US$35,000.

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