Juniper Says No Problem with OC-192

Juniper Networks last week denied rumors that the 10G bit/sec OC-192c interface modules for its high-end M160 Internet core router are bug-ridden.

Rumors surfaced three weeks ago that Cisco Systems was swamped with requests for OC-192c field trials from Juniper customers experiencing problems. The rumors were fueled last week when a Cisco executive confirmed the company was seeing heightened interest in its upcoming OC-192c products from users it defined as a competitor's customers.

OC-192 is vital for scaling the Internet to handle ever-increasing traffic loads and in provisioning new high-speed services to enterprise customers.

Juniper is the only Internet core router vendor currently shipping OC-192c modules. Cisco is expected to ship its OC-192c cards for the 12000 GSR by mid-2001.

"We've seen an increase in requests for early field trials from customers now testing competitive alternatives, due to unforeseen operational challenges" in those products, Kevin Kennedy, senior vice president of Cisco's Service Provider line of business, told Wall Street analysts during Cisco's quarterly earnings call last week.

Efforts to reach Kennedy last week for elaboration were unsuccessful. Juniper believes Kennedy was not referring to it, but the company acknowledges the rumors.

"We heard that rumor and we assume he wasn't referring to Juniper because we've been shipping to field trials since January, we've shipped production since March, we shipped some yesterday, we'll ship some today, we'll ship some tomorrow," says Brian Brown, director of product management at Juniper. "We basically don't have any problems with the OC-192 cards. I'm not sure where that's coming from."

The alleged problem lies in the modules' inability to balance incoming packet loads across multiple Internet Processor II ASICs, say sales personnel at Juniper competitors who claim to have been informed by Juniper customers. The result is that packet processing performance is compromised, say the competitors, who did not want to be identified.

The competitors say Juniper has added a daughtercard to the OC-192c blades as an interim workaround to the load-balancing problem until it respins the ASICs. Brown denies that as well.

"That's absolutely, completely false," he says. "It's the same design, there's never been a ship hold, there's never been a redesign in that card. It's been working the same way since the day we started field trialing it. Our customers are happy with it, we're not aware of any issues so we're a little confused. We're thinking that [Kennedy] must have been referring to somebody else."

Avici Systems is another competitor to Juniper. The company is wrapping up its OC-192c field trials and will ship product "imminently," says Esmeralda Swartz, product marketing manager for Avici.

Swartz reports no problems with Avici's OC-192c product.

Foundry Networks is also attempting to gain some traction in the Internet core router market. The firm plans to ship OC-192c on its NetIron routers in the first half of 2001, Foundry CEO Bobby Johnson recently stated during an earnings call.

Foundry did not return a call last week seeking comment on Kennedy's remarks.

Juniper customers Metromedia Fiber Networks (MFN) and WorldCom report no problems with their OC-192c products.

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