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Juniper LN2600: Rugged router for harsh environments, M2M applications

Shamus McGillicuddy

Juniper Networks announced a new rugged router for deployment in harsh environments to enable machine-to-machine communications. The LN2600 is a rack- and wall-mounted device with the security and routing functions of a branch SRX appliance

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and the design specifications to survive exposure to extreme temperatures, liquids and particulates.

The Juniper LN2600 gives the company a solid product to address the so-called "Internet of Things" movement that Cisco has identified as a major opportunity for networking companies, said Bob Laliberte, senior analyst at Milford, Mass.-based Enterprise Strategy Group. As IT organizations strive to connect smart meters, oil and gas field services, and heavy industrial systems to IP networks, they are finding they need rugged equipment that can survive in those environments. "It appears [Juniper] has done all their homework so that they can go into those harsh environments," Laliberte said.

The LN2600 rugged router is somewhat comparable to the Integrated Services Router 819 -- Cisco's machine-to-machine (M2M) router -- although Juniper claims its router is far more rugged. The Juniper LN2600 meets numerous industry environmental ratings for splash and dust resistance, shock and vibration, and extreme temperatures. It can function in environments from -30 degrees to 71 degrees Celsius.

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The device supports a maximum of 9,000 connections per second and 128,000 concurrent sessions. Its intrusion prevention and VPN throughput reaches 250 Mbps. It can process 500,000 packets per second or just 200,000 with services enabled. The physical box has eight 1 Gbps SFP interfaces.

The router does not have any wireless interfaces, but Robert Grasby, senior product marketing manager at Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Juniper, said the vendor is tentatively exploring the possibility of an LN series router with card slots for wireless modems.

This LN2600 is the second in Juniper's LN series. The first router in the series is the LN1000, a VPX form factor device designed to be embedded in larger communications systems. Juniper sells that device primarily into tactical military deployments, where they are embedded into military vehicles.

"As you look at the forecasts for machine-to-machine communications and the need to connect these harsher environments back into the business network, we're seeing greater opportunities [for these routers]," Grasby said. "It's not a mainstream market, but it does have a lot of potential as we see the network growing and the need to automate more and more processes. We look at these harsh environments as the final frontier of network connectivity."

Laliberte said the immediate demand for ruggedized routers is coming from government agencies, oil and gas companies and utilities. Pure enterprises aren't moving in that direction yet. "They haven't seen a need for it yet, but that may change. As people are trying to make more use of intelligent instrumentation of things like steel mills, they need gear that can go into those harsh environments."


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