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Juniper preps 400 GbE across PTX, MX and QFX hardware

Juniper will ship 400 GbE in PTX, MX and QFX routers and switches over the next 12 months. Cisco and Arista are expected to follow with their 400 GbE products as demand from service providers rises.

Juniper plans to add 400 Gigabit Ethernet across its PTX and MX routers and QFX switches as internet companies...

and cloud providers gear up for the higher throughput needed to meet global demand from subscribers.

Juniper said this week it would roll out higher speed ports in the three product series over the next 12 months. The schedule is in line with analysts predictions that vendors would start shipping 400 GbE devices this year.

Juniper will market the devices for several uses, including a data center backbone, internet peering, data center interconnect, a metro core, telecommunication services and a hyperscale data center IP fabric.

The announcement follows by a month Juniper's release of the 400 GbE-capable Penta, a 16 nanometer (nm) packet-forwarding chipset that consumes considerably less energy than Juniper's other silicon. Juniper designed the Penta for carriers rearchitecting their data centers to deliver 5G services.

Penta is destined for some of the new hardware, which will help Juniper meet carrier demand for more speed, said Eric Hanselman, an analyst at New York-based 451 Research.

"Juniper has such a strong base with service providers and network operators and they're already seeing strong pressure for higher capacity," Hanselman said. "Getting the Penta silicon out into the field on new platforms could help to move Juniper forward [in the market]."

The upcoming hardware will also use a next-generation ExpressPlus chipset and Q5 application-specific integrated circuit. The Juniper silicon will provide better telemetry and support for VXLAN and EVPN, the company said.

Cloud developers use EVPN, VXLAN and the Border Gateway Protocol to set up a multi-tenancy network architecture that supports multiple customers. The design isolates customers so data and malware can't travel between them.

For the IP transport layer, Juniper plans to introduce in the second half of the year the 3-RU PTX10003 Packet Transport Router for the backbone, internet peering and data center interconnect applications. The hardware supports 100 and 400 GbE and plugs into an existing multirate QSFP-DD fiber connector system for a more straightforward speed upgrade. The Juniper system provides MACSec support for 160 100 GbE interfaces and FlexE support for 32 400 GbE interfaces. The upcoming ExpressPlus silicon powers the device.

Also, in the second half of the year, Juniper plans to release for the data center the QFX10003 switch. The system packs 32 400 GbE interfaces in 3-RU hardware that can scale up to 160 100 GbE. The next-generation Q5 chip will power the system.

In the first half of next year, Juniper expects to release the QFX5220 switch, which will offer up to 32 400 GbE interfaces in a 1-RU system. The Q5-powered hardware also supports a mix of 50, 100 and 400 GbE for server and inter-fabric connectivity.

Finally, for wide-area network services, Juniper plans to release Penta-powered 400 GbE MPC10E line cards for the MX960, MX480 and MX240. The vendor plans to release the products on the first of next year.

Juniper is likely to face stiff competition in the 400 GbE market from Cisco and Arista. Initially, prices for the high-speed interfaces will be too high for many companies. However, Hanselman expects that to change over time.

"The biggest challenge with 400 GbE is getting interface prices to a point where they can open up new possibilities," he said. "[But] healthy competition is bound to make this happen."

Indeed, in 2017, competition for current hardware drove Ethernet bandwidth costs down to a six-year low, according to analyst firm Crehan Research Inc., based in San Francisco. By 2022, 400 GbE will account for the majority of Ethernet bandwidth from switches, Crehan predicts.

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