Juniper Kills Off MobileNext Packet Core Solutions

Juniper Thursday confirmed plans to kill its MobileNext line of mobile packet cores, planning instead to target the mobile operator market with a sharper focus on its SDN and virtualization technologies.

"We have made the decision to end-of-life the MobileNext solution," a Juniper spokesperson said in an emailed statement to CRN. "However, our strategy remains unchanged: to virtualize mobile networks and deliver innovation through our existing portfolio of backhaul, security, routing and edge services with products such as the MX Series 3D Universal Edge Routers, SRX Series Services Gateways and JunosV App Engine software virtualization platform."

The spokesperson said Juniper "will continue to work with our partners to deliver best-in-class solutions that help customers improve network economics and accelerate delivery of new mobile services."

[Related: Worldwide Partner Development VP Latest Exec To Leave Juniper ]

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Juniper's decision to take MobileNext out of commission comes as the company merges its Edge Services Business Unit into its Routing Business Unit, according to an internal Juniper memo obtained by Network World. Daniel Hua, senior vice president of Juniper's Routing Business Unit and the Juniper executive who drafted the memo, said the merger is aimed at driving alignment between Juniper's virtual services and routing product lines.

"The compelling reason driving this organization alignment is to increase synergy and focus under the umbrella of a single routing business unit," Hua wrote. "We believe this step will ensure close alignment of our embedded and virtual services with our market-leading MX and PTX platforms."

Juniper launched MobileNext -- known in its development phase as 'Project Falcon' -- at the Mobile World Congress event in February 2011. MobileNext offered 2G/3G and LTE-evolved packet core functions, enabling mobile operators to better handle the explosion of mobile devices onto their networks, and to ensure what Juniper called a "seamless handoff" of services between 3G and LTE networks.

NEXT: Limited Impact

But MobileNext, which went head-to-head with Cisco's ASR 5000 gateway, was a widely acknowledged disappointment for Juniper, and struggled to find a foothold in the market.

Juniper's MobileNext technology was based on three components: MobileNext Broadband Gateway; Mobile Control Gateway; and MobileNext Policy Manager. The Broadband Gateway was software implemented on Juniper's MX 3D universal edge routers, while the MobileNext Control Gateway was a standalone appliance managing MobileNext's signaling. The Policy Manager, which was also software, controlled policy and charging rules function (PCRF) for LTE.

John O'Shea, senior vice president of Vology, a Tampa, Fla.-based solution provider and Juniper partner, said he doesn't expect the death of the MobileNext line to have an impact on his business, given that the technology was targeted at the mobile operator, rather than enterprise, market.

"I put some feelers out on this and we see a limited impact here," O'Shea said in an email to CRN. "[MobileNext] was targeted at a narrow band of the service providers as we understand it."

Hua said in the memo that Juniper is still committed to the mobility market despite pulling MobileNext.

"Despite our decision to [end of life] MobileNext we remain committed to executing on all existing commitments to our customers and to the mobility space longer term," Hua wrote. "We believe we can meet the needs of our customers by providing the underlying virtualized mobile infrastructure (routing, switching, SDN and NFV) to enable customers to make this transition as well as offer specific virtualized network functions."