Juniper, Cisco Mount Up For MWC With New Infrastructure Products11:31 AM EST Wed. Feb. 10, 2010
Juniper Networks and Cisco will face off at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week with new products that address mobile infrastructure needs in the age of exploding mobile data traffic and the push toward 4G wireless.
Juniper's three releases are all related to Project Falcon, the mobile initiative it first unveiled in the fall, whereas Cisco's announcements represent the first fruits of its acquisition of Starent Networks.
All three Juniper releases are based on its Junos software platform and Juniper's high-end MX-3D series routers, which were part of a substantial product rollout the company made at the New York Stock Exchange in October.
The first is Juniper Traffic Direct, which takes mobile data traffic and redistributes it using the MX-3D router's scaling functionality to run over the Internet. The product is a nod toward Long Term Evolution (LTE), the 4G interface that will rely on the use of data cards.
What Traffic Direct intends to do, explained Mallik Tatipamula, vice president of service provider strategy at Juniper, is move traffic off expensive wireless LANs to avoid service disruptions and, while doing so, lower costs. Juniper cites data from research firm IDC stating that such a traffic router capability could help lower total cost of ownership by 70 percent for enterprises.
"The idea is to offload the Internet traffic coming out of a particular mobile subscriber as early as possible, without consuming mobile resources," Tatipamula said.
Juniper's second new product is Juniper Media Flow, a mobile network optimizer that uses software from a Juniper partner, Ankeena Networks, to ease congestion on mobile and fixed networks to promote higher-quality video and better streaming to mobile devices.
According to Juniper, the combination of a Juniper VXA Series content delivery engine and Ankeena's platform will enable video streaming to mobile devices of up to 10 Gbps per engine. Mobile users can combine the effects of both Media Flow and Traffic Direct, Tatipamula said, to access and stream high-quality content while all the rerouting and offloading happens behind the scenes.
Finally comes Juniper's Mobile Core Evolution, a mobile packet core system intended to support both 3G and 4G services on the same network. Juniper intends to use the product to entice third-party app developers, touting the Mobile Core Evolution as a platform on which to build new applications using Juniper's Junos SDK.
"This will create a smooth migration," said Tatipamula. "You're using the same device -- MX-3D -- and the same operating system to move to LTE, and you're also expanding the ecosystem of app developers. Really, customers are saying, 'I'm going to invest now but I want to invest for the next decade.' They're saying, 'I need a platform that can solve this problem now but can scale for what's coming next.' "
According to Juniper, Traffic Direct and Media Flow will be available in the second quarter of 2010, and the Mobile Core Evolution will arrive as a beta in the fourth quarter.
Cisco's big mobile data news for Mobile World Congress is the introduction of ASR 5000, formerly the Starent ST40 mobile core chassis. According to Cisco, the ASR 5000 represents its first, comprehensive Internet Protocol Next-Generation Network (IP NGN) architecture to help customers better handle mobile Internet traffic and applications. The ASR 5000 is the Starent product rebranded but also now includes Cisco's Unified Reporting System for network monitoring.
Cisco revealed plans to acquire mobile infrastructure specialist Starent Networks in October. The ASR 5000 is the first major product released under Cisco's new Mobile Internet Technology Group, which is headed by former Starent president and CEO Ashraf Dahod.
Along with the architecture, Cisco on Tuesday released results of a study, the Cisco Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Data Forecast, which according to the networking giant attempts to track how fast mobile data traffic is growing on a worldwide basis.
The study found that global mobile data traffic is about 90 petabytes by month, an increase of about 160 percent year-over-year and growing 2.4 times faster than global fixed broadband data traffic. According to Cisco, smartphones and laptop air cards will drive 90 percent of all global mobile traffic by 2014.
"The rapid consumer adoption of smartphones, netbooks, e-readers and Web-ready video cameras as well as machine-to-machine applications like eHealth monitoring and asset-tracking systems, is continuing to place unprecedented demands on mobile networks," said Doug Webster, senior director of services product marketing at Cisco, in a statement. "In spite of the economic downturn, the demand for mobile services has remained high, posing both challenges and opportunities for service providers worldwide."