Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Juniper unveils 5G and IoT ready routing platform

Steve Rogerson
June 20, 2018



Juniper Networks has unveiled a 5G and IoT ready routing platform to unlock service-creation opportunities. The California company announced the MX 5G universal routing platform along with several software innovations to provide the programmability, performance and flexibility for rapid service deployment in the cloud economy.
 
The fifth generation of the MX platform, which is claimed to be the only platform to deliver near-infinite programmability, cost efficiency and versatility with performance at scale, combines software- and hardware-based networking to equip carrier, cloud and enterprise users for the evolving technological and business demands of services delivery.
 
Service providers are at an inflection point where the costs of operating a complex network that can host the resource-intensive applications such as 5G and secure SD-WAN-based managed services are overwhelming their ability to monetise them. Also, with the additional influx of machine data coming from IoT sensors, distributed telco edge and cloud computing, networks will become overextended if they remain static, particularly as current infrastructures have become too complex, expensive and vulnerable to cyber threats for service providers to manage the distributed scale and agility required for these services.
 
In a poll among Juniper service provider customers about the top challenges in being able to offer services such as SD-WAN, IoT and 5G, more than half (55 per cent) ranked the cost of infrastructure build-out as the number one or two difficulty. Nearly 40 per cent of respondents ranked the complexity of orchestrating a distributed network at number one or two. And more than half (55 per cent) ranked investment protection with data-plane programmability as the number one or two desired feature set to solve those problems.
 
“Cloud is eating the world, 5G is ramping up, IoT is presenting a host of new challenges and security teams simply can’t keep up with the sheer volume of cyber attacks on today’s network,” said Manoj Leelanivas, executive vice president of Juniper Networks. “One thing service providers should not have to worry about among all this is the unknown of what lies ahead. That’s why we’ve continued innovating our flagship MX platform to deliver more speed, flexibility, programmability and security capabilities, giving our customers the peace of mind they need as a variety of demands continue to put pressure on the network. We are building on our heritage of eliminating the biggest barriers to routing that have emerged over the past decade and providing a platform that can grow whichever way the world does. Our commitment to removing complexity from routing has made it possible for our customers to connect in ways that have changed the world.”
 
Juniper designed the platform with silicon for near-infinite feature programmability, as well as open hardware-accelerated 5G control and user plane separation (Cups) for performance, scale and freedom of choice, with additions to its universal chassis designed for operational simplicity, improved economics and increased agility.
 
With Contrail’s automation and software management overlay capabilities, along with MX’s subscriber management, Spring, and enhanced real-time performance monitoring telemetry data, the added capabilities let users create and scale any type of service across a secure automated distributed cloud in a simplified way.
 
At the heart of the platform is the Juniper Penta Silicon, a 16nm service-optimised packet forwarding engine that delivers a 50 per cent power efficiency gain (0.5W/Gbit) over the existing Junos Trio chipset, which leads to a three times bandwidth increase for the MX960, MX480 and MX240. Penta enables end-to-end secure connectivity at scale with native support of MACsec and an IPsec crypto engines that can originate and terminate thousands of IPsec sessions without sacrificing performance.
 
Additionally, Penta supports flexible native Ethernet (FlexE). The Penta silicon family could power the 5G platform for years to come by exponentially increasing performance, power efficiency and maintaining hardware programmability that can address future protocols.
 
As service providers prepare for 5G deployments, the 3GPP Cups standard allows users to separate the evolved packet core user plane (GTP-U) and control plane (GTP-C) with a standard Sx interface to help service providers scale each independently as needed for added flexibility and investment protection.
 
It is the first networking platform to support a standard-based hardware accelerated 5G user-plane in both existing and future MX routers to enable converged services (wireless and wireline) on the same platform while also allowing integration with third-party 5G control planes. Juniper expects this will lower total cost of ownership by as much as three to four times over software-based user plane implementations for MXs deployed in the field.
 
The previously announced PTX and QFX universal chassis gains two MX variants with the announcement: MX10008 and MX10016. The chassis family is said to reduce inventory management complexity by 80 per cent and extend use-case versatility for operators with a single-chassis design.
 
The 13-RU MX10008 and 21-RU MX10016 universal chassis bring space-saving scale for edge routers at 19.2s and 38.4Tbit/s, respectively. They can improve per-slot economics for service scale at about 0.6W/Gbit, enabling users to do more with less while simplifying network design and reducing opex. Line cards and software are available to satisfy specific networking use-cases across the data centre, enterprise and WAN.
 
The MX10008 and MX100016 will be available during the second half of 2018. Penta Silicon-powered line cards for the MX960, MX480 and MX240 will be available early next year. Cups support will be available in the first half of 2019.
 
“The rise of next-generation wireless and wireline services is having a profound impact on the underlying networks needed to make them a reality,” said Mike Altland, director of network infrastructure planning at Verizon. “We’ve been a long-time partner with Juniper Networks since the first MX more than a decade ago and are excited to see the unveiling of its next generation MX platform.”
 
Heidi Adams, a senior research director at IHS Markit, added: “While the industry is gradually transitioning to cloud-based deployments of network functions and services, high-performance routing hardware and custom silicon continue to be critical elements to address network services at scale. With the announcement of the Juniper Penta Silicon, Juniper continues to advance its routing silicon and platforms in order to ensure network operators can support existing services and applications more efficiently today, and be well prepared for the future.”