RealTime IT News

Juniper Moving Carriers to Clean Pipes

In an age where everyone is trying to do more with less, carrier networks are no longer just about providing connectivity. The modern network is about delivering intelligent services at ever corner of the network, including the edge. It's an area that Juniper Networks is targeting with its new Intelligent Services Edge offerings to help carriers get more out of their networks.

Juniper is rolling out new integrated subscriber management technology, quality of service (QoS) and security features into its edge routing portfolio. The new intelligent offerings come as Juniper continues to ramp up the competitive pressure against rival Cisco for dominance in the multi-billion dollar carrier networking space.

"The Intelligent Services Edge goal is to come up with a series of tools for providers that lets them increase their revenues with the introduction of new services, while at the same time giving them the ability to do so with operational ease in terms of how they manage their networks," Rami Rahim, vice president of product management in the Edge and Aggregation Business Unit at Juniper Networks told InternetNews.com.

Among the new services that Juniper is deploying is an integrated Intrusion Detection and Prevention (IDP) for Juniper M and MX series routing platforms. Rahim explained that new, integrated intrusion detection could be used by a carrier to detect Trojans, viruses, worms and other zero-day attacks. There are a few different applications for which a carrier would want integrated security detection.

"One such offering is if a provider wanted to offer managed clean pipe services to their end users which could be a revenue generating service," Rahim commented. "It could also be leveraged to protect their own infrastructure."

By integrating security inside of a carrier routing platform, Juniper could potentially be cannibalizing its standalone IDP appliances, which serve a similar purpose. Rahim however argued that the fact that Juniper will now offer integrated IDP doesn't necessarily negate the need for an external appliance.

In his view, both the integrated and the stand alone security model will be deployed by carriers, with individual carriers making the choice based on their own network infrastructure specifics. That said, Rahim did note that there are some advantages for having integrated carrier router security.

"More and more providers are starting to like the integrated offering because of the operational efficiency that it offers," Rahim said. "If the IDP function is integrated within the router there are some inherent benefits."

Rahim explained that VPNs can work more effectively when security is part of the router. As well he argued that carriers could more easily introduce services overall when security is integrated. Additionally Rahim noted that the tight level of integration that occurs when the security is part of the router can help prevent bottlenecks that might happen if there is a separate appliance in the data path.

"I don't think providers will wholesale move from the appliance model to this model overnight," Rahim said.

As part of the Intelligent Services Edge initiative, Juniper is also hoping to help carriers bridge the gap between legacy SONET networks and modern metro Ethernet routing platforms with a new concentrator line card. To date, the Juniper MX platform has only offered Ethernet interfaces.

"There are a lot of pure Ethernet networks that are being built but we think we can enable new opportunities," Rahim said.

The new SONET capable technology from Juniper will let carriers interface their SONET core with carrier Ethernet features offered in the Juniper MX platform.

"Operators have invested so much in their SONET/SDH those networks aren't going anywhere anytime soon," Rahim commented. "Where the core has remained SONET, with the transformation of the metro networks to Ethernet the opportunity is a system that has rich and dense Ethernet functionally but can also terminate OC-192 and OC-48 interfaces."

Juniper has been actively preaching the benefits of a more service aware architecture a lot this year. In September Juniper announced a new Dynamic Services Architecture as part of its SRX services platform.