Juniper Networks today launched a router capable of handling the volume of Internet traffic that would be generated by the entire UK population simultaneously playing World of Warcraft while calling each other on VoIP telephones.
Isn't the new 25Tbps TX Matrix Plus overkill? No, says Paul Gainham, director of service provider marketing in Juniper's Europe, Middle East and Africa division.
Bandwidth, he says, has become a commodity. As a result, there is room for only one or two low-cost, high volume suppliers. "Most network operators will have to find other ways to differentiate themselves or cut their costs to retain their profit margins," he says.
One way is to hire lots of lines from cheaper operators and to "virtualise" the network-based service offerings using a smart box like the TX Plus, he says.
This allows the network operators to position themselves either as a supplier or as a partner to firms with very high bandwidth and security needs, such as online gaming and betting sites, internet-based TV suppliers, and firms now starting to offer cloud-based facilities, such as high volume storage and transaction processing.
Aimed at Tier 1-class communications service providers (CSPs) such as BT, Virgin Media and enterprises with large internal global networks, the entry level TX Matrix Plus costs $300,000 and scales up to a single 25Tbps routing node with 16 T1600 processors in a multi-chassis housing. Gainham says the TX Matrix Plus delivers up to 25% more routing capacity in the half the footprint, and with 40% less power consumption than the competition.
Gainham says regulatory, operational, organisational and security issues have made it harder for CSPs to save costs by "virtualising" their different networks and services, even though they are dealing essentially with a single bitstream.
"Juniper is addressing this," he says. "Core routers can be partitioned on a per slot basis into multiple virtual routers, each of which might represent services or network element types, and which can share resources such as interconnecting links and uplinks," he says.
This lets CSPs maintain the appropriate levels of administrative and service-specific separation, security and management while still achieving better efficiency and cost-savings from virtualisation, he says.
"This dramatically speeds up CSPs' capacity to introduce new services, and also opens up a range of new business models and partnership opportunities, such as the ability to deliver 'Open Garden' services, virtual network operator, network as a service (NaaS) and network sharing," Gainham says.
Juniper will ship the new TX Matrix Plus units in the third quarter this year, but Gainham says he already has units on test with potential customers.