The Evolution of Routers: How Juniper Gained Success in the Marketplace

In the early 1980’s, Bolt, Beraneck, and Newman technologies developed the first fully operational router, sending out a rippling affect throughout the technological landscape and adding a glimmer of hope for the future generation of technologists.

A few years later, Bill Yeager developed the multiprotocol router. The multiprotocol router supported two or more protocols, for example Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) and IPv6. This project of building such a router gained the interest of many Stanford researchers, two of which (Leonard Bosack and Sandra Lerner) went on to launch Cisco Systems.

The ‘Fuzzballs’ trend emerged in the late 1980’s, a term that derived from Digital Equipment Corporation’s router’s software which included a fast, compact operating system, support for the DARPA/NSF internet architecture, and a range of applications for network protocol development, testing, and evaluation. Allegedly, there are still a few ‘Fuzzballs’ still in operation today.

Within a couple years, corporate networks soon moved to the birth of Cisco with Bosack and Lerner at the helm of the ship, steering their new birth into successful waters. Bosack and Lerner produced AGS, the first Cisco router. This revolutionary router supported TCP/IP and PUP among other protocols. The highest line rate on the system was 100Mbps FDDI—ground breaking for the time.

Cisco continued its success by developing the well-known multiprotocol router 7000 series in 1993. Although Cisco may have led the way for the technological landscape on the router market, working its way up in the background was a company called Juniper Networks.

In 1998 Juniper leapt into the marketplace, introducing the M40 router. The M40 was significant, because it provided many benefits over rivals:

  • Cisco advanced IP/MPLS edge routing services
  • A broad array of VPN’s network-based security
  • Real-time voice and video
  • Bandwidth on demand
  • A rich multicast of premium content

Following Juniper’s success of the M40 router, Juniper continued to be at the head of the market’s innovation, launching its ‘Junos Platform’ which created software to develop and aid the growth of its portfolio. Recently, Juniper announced its new PTX 3000 router. The PTX 3000 builds on the technology from the previous PTX 5000 router—a larger, more disruptive router. The PTX 3000 has the market’s lowest power footprint which is not only advantageous for companies’ corporate responsibility programs, but it also provides sufficient cost savings.

Rami Rahim of Juniper’s EVP/GM Platform Systems Division states, it’s going to take a bit “of time for operators to get comfortable with this level of integration in the network.” With the PTX, there is a large emphasis on size; many exchanges weren’t laid out to accommodate iron with a 900mm deep space. Older office building designs bring the greatest need for products like the PTX 3000, because the aisles between racks are very narrow. As such, it’s not uncommon to build equipment back-to-back and use ports on both sides of the rack.

The PTX 3000’s ultra-thin 300mm layout was developed to the new need of organizations now building on either sides of the rack. This product will support up to 16 100Gbps DWDM connections per unit based on its two-port interface cards. According to Rahim, this is the greatest density hundred-gig packet optical solution currently available to date. A fully-loaded unit will handle up to 24 Tbps of traffic making it highly competitive enabling organizations to utilize their space and performance.

Rahim lastly states that “Juniper Networks is well aware of the sensitivities and design habits that exist in the PTX 3000’s target market:  In engaging with the customer, we will take a look at their network and model it for them in our environment.”

It will be interesting to see what Juniper brings to the market in the new future as the ever-changing needs of network requirements continue to grow.

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