Juniper sharpens its transport network chops with 400G for metro

Juniper is focused on upgrading the transport networks in big metro areas. (Getty Images)

Juniper Networks is upgrading its transport network offerings, particularly for the metro network, to keep pace with all the changes that are coming with 5G and distributed edge sites.

5G is bringing big changes to the core network and radio access network (RAN) of mobile operators. Those networks are becoming virtualized and more open to multiple vendors. And operators are partnering with hyperscalers to bring computing to the edge of their networks. They’re deploying Google Anthos, AWS Outposts and Microsoft Azure Stack at their telco edges.

There’s a lot of excitement about the core, the RAN and the edge. But sometimes the transport network tends to get forgotten.

Julius Francis, senior director of product marketing at Juniper Networks, said Juniper is focused on upgrading the transport networks in big metro areas via its Cloud Metro solution.

“We’re focused on big metros,” said Francis. “It’s typically a ring type of architecture. We need to bring 400 Gig into this.” Juniper projects that in the next few years, metro traffic will grow four times faster than anywhere else in the network, and most of that traffic will stay in the metro, serving distributed edge services.

Juniper is announcing new additions to its Cloud Metro portfolio: the ACX7100 series of routers with up to 4.8 Tbps of forwarding capacity and 400 Gig interfaces.

RELATED: Windstream, Infinera transmit 800G over long-haul network

Network slicing

One of the technologies promised by 5G is network slicing, which will allow service providers to sell “slices” of their networks to enterprises for their exclusive use. For instance, Dish Network is building a greenfield 5G network, and it’s incorporating network slicing into its design. Network slicing must work across all elements of the wireless network, form the core, to the RAN, to the edge and across the transport.

RELATED: Dish looks to serve up secure 5G slicing with Nokia software

Juniper’s Metro Cloud includes technology to have the transport network support network slicing.

In addition, Juniper is touting its Paragon Automation portfolio as part of Cloud Metro. Paragon software is tailored for 5G networks and multi-cloud environments. It can automate manual tasks and processes, perform constant testing and automatically remediate problems.

RELATED: Juniper unveils Paragon automation for the WAN

The new features of Juniper’s Cloud Metro will be generally available this quarter.

The offering competes against Layer 1 optical vendors such as Infinera and Ciena. But Francis said Juniper brings more because it delivers both Layer 1 and Layer 3 routing capacity. “Nowadays, optics and Layer 3 are key ways to solve problems by bringing the optics right into the routers,” said Francis. “Convergence of these layers is critical to manage complexity.”