Juniper unveils giant router

Juniper doubles bandwidth for new high-end router

Juniper Networks announced a 16-slot core router for service providers that boasts bandwidth of 1.6Tbps, more than twice that of the company's previous high-end system.

The vendor's T1600, in a half-rack configuration, blows past the 5-year-old T640, which tops out at 640Gbps. Juniper claims its new box provides 2.5 times the capacity of Cisco's CRS-1 router with 30 percent less power and cooling requirements.

T640 customers can upgrade to the new router in 90 minutes without service interruption, Juniper says.

Given that the T640 came out in 2002, they might be eager to do just that.

"The T640 is old," says Mark Seery, an analyst at Ovum. "Five years is a long time in this business."

Service-aware routers

The T1600 is also "service aware," according to Juniper, meaning that it can provide content-specific transmission quality depending on the traffic type -- voice and video, in addition to data. Core networks that are not service aware delay new service introduction, lead to inefficient use of resources, force the construction of complex network architectures, and ultimately limit an operator's competitiveness, according to Juniper.

Service awareness is achieved through in-depth packet processing and policy control. Policy is enabled by Juniper's recently announced Session Resource Control products, hardware-based controllers running applications which mange subscribers and network resources.

The T1600 also supports the recently introduced point-to-multipoint MPLS (P2MP) feature in the JUNOS operating system. P2MP is intended to provide efficient core video distribution and enhanced optical network integration at 10G and 40Gbps.

A potential downside to the T1600 is its initial lack of support on Juniper's TX switching matrix, a centralized fabric designed to connect T-series routers into a multiterabit-per-second virtual megarouter. Juniper says customers are demanding higher density and capacity in individual elements for scale rather than connecting multiple lower density systems together.

Juniper also says TX will require an upgrade to support the 100Gbps-per-slot capacity of the T1600. Company officials did not say when this upgrade would be unveiled.

What carriers think

Ovum's Seery says carriers are not yet confident in the multichassis interconnect options from their vendors.

"I believe all carriers are trying to assess whether they are comfortable with multichassis configurations," he says. Some carriers are looking for redundancy features, such as the ability to deploy dual distributed switch fabrics, to eliminate the single point of failure current offerings present, Seery says.

Juniper's hoping carriers won't wait for the TX support before buying the T1600. Juniper's deployed 2,500 T640s to date but the company's share in the core router market slipped from 37 percent to 30 percent over the past year.

And Cisco, which announced Monday that it shipped 900 CRS-1s since the product's launch in 2004, stole some thunder when AT&T picked the CRS-1 to replace its Avici Systems installation after Avici announced it was exiting the core router market.

"The T1600 will help defend Juniper against [Cisco's] CRS-1," Seery says. "But it's not in a strong position until it's in a TX configuration."

The T1600 is slated for fourth quarter availability.

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