New ACX Routers Usher in Universal Access

Juniper Networks is rolling out a portfolio of five routers this week as part of a new end-to-end solution called Universal Access for connecting business, residential and mobile networks. 

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Feb 8, 2012
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At the heart of Juniper Networks (NYSE:JNPR) Universal Access solution is the new ACX series router series, which sit at the access layer of a network helping to improve connectivity for both wireless and wireline users.

"The ACX series router has all the capabilities to support applications from a cell tower, as well as aggregating transit from business and residential networks," Alan Sardella, director of Product Marketing at Juniper explained to InternetNews.com. "It's a seamless end-to-end delivery system that has very high scale."

Withthe ACX, Juniper is providing the same core Junos Operating system that already exists throughout its networking portfolio so a service provider can simplify operations by using a common OS from the edge of the network all the way to the core.

ACX Series supports Junos, extensive Layer 2 and Layer 3 features, IP/MPLS with traffic engineering support, rich network management, fault management, service monitoring and OAM capabilities. Using proven and widely deployed clocking technology, Universal Access routers ensure Quality of Experience (QoE) with Synchronous Ethernet and 1588-2008 for optimum capacity usage.

ACX Series 1 U fixed models are environmentally-hardened, passively cooled and fully customizable open access system with integrated services and hardware, using our Junos software development kit (SDK). Support for power over Ethernet (PoE+) at 65watts per port, mitigates the need for additionaACX rounterl electrical cabling for microwaves or other access interfaces.

In total, Juniper is debuting five different routers as part of the initial ACX platform release. The ACX 1000, 1100, 2000 and 2100 routers are all 1RU systems that have been environmentally hardened so they can be deployed in a wide variety of remote locations and weather conditions. At the top end of the portfolio, the ACX 4000 is a 2RU box that supports 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) links. Sardella noted that all the platforms have 60 Gbps packet forwarding engines.

Currently, 10GbE links are the biggest links on the ACX, though that could expand in the future.

"On the ADX 4000, they do support modular interface cards, the same ones that are on the Juniper MX80 router and higher," Sardella said. "So you could have a higher speed interface card on there eventually."

That said, Sardella noted that in access networks today, 10 GbE is pretty much the limit with some providers aggregating multiple 10 GbE links.

"We are starting to see RFPs from service providers asking for 100 gigabit links from the service provider edge into the core of the network," Sardella said.

The ACX is the first access layer solution from Juniper, though it had previously helped customers to deploy their edge MX routers for access layer use cases. Juniper last updated its MX series edge routers in 2011.

"We have done things in the access space before that previously involved putting our existing stuff like the MX at lower price points," Sardella said. "But you really need something that is going to be already cost optimized and you need the environmental hardening."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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