Carriers with Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) networks are banking on packet-based data services such as General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) and Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) to deliver more Internet-based content to their customers and add more service charges.
Mobile Internet services will require large high-capacity networks that can handle traffic from GPRS and WCDMA networks.
Introduced at the 3GSM World Congress in France, the AXB 250 06 Gateway GPRS Support Node (GGSN) is based on Juniper's M20 router hardware and Ericsson's GGSN software and developed by their joint venture company, EJN Mobile IP.
The router is designed to fit between the carrier's mobile network and an external data network, setting up mobile customers' data sessions and routing the packets they send and receive, according to Mike Capuano, director of product marketing at Juniper. It can also link mobile users to corporate virtual private networks (VPNs), Capuano said.
The GGSN can carry circuit-switched voice calls across an IP network, using standard quality of service mechanisms to make sure the time-sensitive voice packets make it across the network in a timely fashion.
Many service providers that have built GPRS systems use Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) or Frame Relay networks to carry data and voice across a backbone network, Capuano said. Juniper is focused on building all-IP infrastructures, which may offer greater simplicity and lower overall cost in the long run.
Juniper and Ericsson formed EJN to develop devices that form a bridge between mobile phone systems and IP data networks. The router is the joint venture's first shipping product, builds upon Juniper's existing M20 core router with specialised interface modules developed by Juniper and GGSN software from Ericsson.
The router can support as many as 450,000 simultaneous user sessions, based on Juniper's projections of how customers will be using mobile data networks a year or two from now, Capuano said. Much of the traffic passing through the network will take the form of e-mail and messaging, Juniper believes, echoing predictions by many industry analysts.
Scalability is crucial for operators' service and business plans, he added.
"These guys want to install this GGSN and not have to take it out in a year and a half," Capuano said.
Hardware support in the Juniper platform for IP version 6 (IPv6) also will help carriers roll out and expand mobile data services, he said.
"The end goal is, you want to have every device have its own IP address," Capuano said.
The AXB 250 06 GGSN is already commercially deployed by the Italian ISP, Wind SpA.