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Juniper Rolls New Carrier Ethernet Goods

Juniper Networks wants a big piece of the carrier Ethernet equipment market, which Synergy Research said will hit $7 billion in revenue by 2011. The best way to achieve that goal? Launch new carrier Ethernet equipment.

"Cisco and Alcatel-Lucent have a 60 percent share of this market and that's who we're going after," David Boland, product marketing manager at Juniper, told InternetNews.com. "We want to position our series against theirs and show we can scale against them with better performance."

Juniper will get started on its pursuit of the No. 1 with the MX240 and the MX480 Ethernet Services Routers, which round out the vendor's carrier Ethernet product lineup.

The MX240 boasts 240Gbps of switching or routing capacity, while the bigger MX480 has 480Gbps of capacity. Both platforms can scale all the way up to 1 million MAC addresses . With the new platforms Juniper is aiming for greater port density, which it claims reduces both the space, cooling and power requirements of the routers.

Along with the new routers are two key components sitting at the heart of Juniper's carrier Ethernet capabilities: its JUNOS network operating system and silicon in the form of its new I-chip ASICs (application specific integrated circuits) .

Boland said the I-chip provides quality of service (QoS) and multitasking performance with 10GbE of capacity. Though the I-chip is new, it is based on technology developed for the T1600, the big brother of Juniper's carrier Ethernet lineup that has a 3.2Tbps (Terabits per second) of throughput in a single standard 7-foot rack. The T1600 includes dual 50Gbps ASICs per slot.

"On the T1600 the technology is more SONET specific for OC-768 and is capable of supporting 100Gbps," Boland said. "So the foundation is in place for the MX series to also scale beyond 10GbE."

The only thing that's needed for Ethernet speeds faster than 10GbE, according to Boland, is more time in the IEEE 802.3 Higher Speed Study Group (HSSG). The group recently decided that the next speeds for Ethernet will be 40GbE and 100GbE.

Juniper updated JUNOS with new Layer 2 operations, administration and management (OAM) functionality. JUNOS now supports additional MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) features, including advanced VPLS (Virtual private LAN service).

Juniper's carrier Ethernet push comes on the heels of rival Cisco updating the Cisco carrier Ethernet portfolio. Cisco announced this week the ME 3400-24FS Series switch, which is also a smaller form-factor chassis. Cisco is now also claiming to be able to provide the same QoS as SONET, delivering 50-millisecond (ms) resiliency.

Juniper's Boland argued that carrier Ethernet can be equivalent to SONET and that delivering 50-millisecond (ms) resiliency is common and should be a minimum for the carrier industry.

Nortel has also been busy this week hyping its flavor of carrier Ethernet known as PBT (provider backbone transport). Juniper's Boland noted that Juniper is watching developments with PBT, though he said it's still a bit too new and needs to be more solid in terms of rigid technical specifications.

Boland argued that the promise of PBT is that it is designed to scale for a high volume of MAC addresses, which is precisely the issue that Juniper is solving with its current release cycle.