Juniper Networks is broadening its mobile solutions portfolio with the addition of an integrated set of hardware systems and software features for mobile backhaul. 

Juniper’s new Mobile Backhaul Solution enables operators, including cable operators, to scale their backhaul networks for service deployments while reducing operational expenses, the company said. The solution supports multi-generations, multi-transport technologies and a multitude of clocking options, and it offers flexible support for alternate backhaul deployment.

According to Mallik Tatipamula, VP of Juniper’s Wireless and FMC Segment, the solution is appropriate for three kinds of cable operators: 1) integrated operators that already offer wireless services – such as Rogers Wireless in Canada and J:COM in Japan – and that are looking to solve mobile backhaul issues; 2) operators that are offering, or looking to offer, mobile backhaul as a service to mobile operators (such as Comcast does for Sprint); and 3) operators, such as Cox, that are moving into the wireless market and are looking to fix mobile backhaul problems before they launch services (as opposed to mid-service).

As part of its mobile solutions portfolio expansion, Juniper has unveiled the new BX 7000 Multi-Access Gateway, for the cell site, and the new M-series Circuit Emulation Physical Interface Cards (PICs), for the aggregation site. The products are expected to be generally available in Q4 2008.

The BX 7000 was built for the mobile market and extends Juniper’s expertise in both IP/MPLS and multi-service transport of TDM and ATM circuits to the cell site. Many existing mobile backhaul networks utilize a mix of disparate legacy transport technologies, such as TDM and ATM, so the BX 7000 transports a broad range of service types over an IP/MPLS connection using MPLS pseudowires.

The BX 7000 will feature a timing expansion module that protects network investments and provides a wide range of timing synchronization options by allowing customers to replace clocking modules as technologies and network requirements evolve, the company said. Additionally, the gateway contains two expansion slots. The first expansion slot is for advanced clocking, and the second is for additional backhaul options, including DSL, ADSL and VDSL.

The new Circuit Emulation PICs for the M-series routers can be deployed with the M-series as scalable aggregation site gateways, which, when combined with the BX 7000, will enable providers to create an end-to-end mobile backhaul network that provides the power of a converged IP/MPLS network.

“With Juniper’s new Mobile Backhaul Solution with advanced management tools that extend the benefits of IP/MPLS to the cell site, we believe that mobile operators can reduce annual OpEx by as much as 84 percent moving from traditional leased lines to Ethernet backhaul,” said Ray Mota, chief analyst at Synergy Research Group.

Also, as part of the portfolio expansion, Juniper is delivering a suite of software features that simplify the deployment, provisioning and management of mobile backhaul networks. The BX 7000 includes a zero-touch deployment capability, allowing for automatic configuration of the system upon physical installation.

Additionally, both the BX 7000 and the M-series Aggregation Site Gateway are manageable via the JunoScope network management framework. JunoScope has been enhanced to support provisioning, monitoring, diagnostics, remote software upgrades, configuration management and inventory management across all aspects of Juniper’s mobile backhaul solution, the company said.

And through its J-Partner Solutions Alliance Program, Juniper also enables customers to work with OSS provider partners – such as IBM and EMC – who can add value in operating a mobile backhaul network, such as fault and performance management.
“Since 2006, mobile operators worldwide have seen exponential growth in data traffic, which will continue to require operators to implement more capacity into their networks,” said Mohammad Shahbaz, senior specialist for Core Network at E-Plus Mobilfunk GmbH & Co. “The emerging next-generation networks to support applications that demand lower latencies and higher throughputs will amplify this trend. However, as radio networks improve and demand increases, the backhaul network will increasingly become a bottleneck.”

Juniper has also announced the availability of its EX-series Ethernet switches. The high-performance Ethernet switches run on Juniper’s Junos software and deliver operational simplicity and reliability to accelerate the deployment of applications and services across the extended enterprise to advance the economics of networking, the company said.

The EX 3200 and EX 4200 switches are available now, and the EX 8200 series will be available in the second half of 2008.

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