RealTime IT News

Juniper Takes Midrange Path With New Routers

With all product lines, there needs to be entry-level, high- and mid-level offerings.

Juniper Networks  already has introduced new entry-level and high-end devices; today the networking vendor introduced a new series of mid-level routers to round out its portfolio.

The SSG 320M, SSG 350M, J2320 and J2350 further flesh out Juniper's Secure Services Gateway (SSG) product line.

All four devices share a common hardware platform and are differentiated by their underlying operating system and functionality.

The SSG series devices are powered by Juniper's ScreenOS operating system, which recently hit version 6.

The J series routers are powered by Juniper's JUNOS networking operating system, which also powers the company's multi-terabit T1600 router for telecommunications carriers.

Michael Shorts, product manager at Juniper, said that ScreenOS is a security first operating system, while JUNOS is a best-in-class routing operating system. Shorts said that Juniper customers may choose either operating systems for the new devices, and even convert from one to the other if necessary.

"Moving forward, the platform for integration is JUNOS," Shorts said, adding that no plans are in the works to have JUNOS available for the existing SSG family.

The SSG 320M and the SSG 350M are the latest in the SSG family of routers, which Juniper began rolling out out in February 2006 to provide unified threat management capabilities, including virtual private network (VPN), intrusion prevention (IPS) and anti-virus (AV).

Juniper introduced its entry level SSGs in October; the new 320M and the 350M fit in the middle of the product lineup.

The 320M and the J2320 include four on-board 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports and encryption card. The company claims the machines offer more than 400 megabits per second (Mbps) of firewall traffic and 175 Mbps of VPN performance.

The SSG 350M and J2350 improve performance further by offering more than 500 Mbps of firewall traffic and 225 Mbps of VPN performance, according to Juniper's specifications.

Though Juniper is well known in the marketplace for its SSL VPN technology, Juniper has steadfastly refused to include it on the SSG lineup and is instead using the IPsec  VPN approach.

According to Shorts, Juniper has no plans to integrate SSL VPN into its secure router as they don't see a demand for it in branch offices where the SSGs are deployed. Shorts argued that there is no need for distributed SSL VPNs at branch locations since an SSL VPN at the head office locations would suffice.

Moving forward, Juniper plans on adding new capabilities to both the SSG and J-series routers, with WAN  optimization and additional security optimizations.

Juniper has some stiff competition in the secure router space, particularly with Cisco Systems'  Integrated Services Router (ISR) and Nortel's  new 4130 router.

"It shows there is customer demand," Shorts said. "We believe we have double the performance of the Cisco's ISR and if you stack up versus the SSGs you'd see Nortel comes up a little short."