Juniper Accelerates Edge Routers

In modern networks, there needs to be speed and capacity at both the core and edge of the network. This week, Juniper Networks announced a big speed boost for its MX 3D Universal Edge routers bringing capacity up to 3.8 Terabits per second via a software upgrade.

The MX 3D platform was first announced in October of 2009. At the time of the initial announcement, Juniper said that its top end MX 3D router could deliver up to 2.6 Terabits per second of bandwidth.

Previously Juniper’s MX series routers were only able to deliver 120 Gbps per slot and now they are able to do 160 Gbps per slot.

The new speed gains come by way of both software as well as a switch fabric upgrades.

“It’s a switch fabric upgrade that allows the packet forwarding engine to realize their capacity at 160 Gbps,” Allan Sardella, product marketing director, Platform Systems Group at Juniper told “There is a Junos upgrade that enables the switch fabric upgrade.

Junos is Juniper’s network operating system that powers nearly all of their routing, switching and security equipment. Sardella noted that there will also be a new switch fabric card that will boost performance even further. Sardella explained that there are three places that impact the bandwidth capacity: the interfaces, the switch fabric and the backplane.

“The switch fabric has the capacity to go up to 5.3 Terabits per second, but using the current interfaces we can go to 3.8 Terabits per second,” Sardella said.

The 5.4 Tbps capacity is driven by 240 Gbps per slot of performance which will be available with a future interface.

The improved switch fabric is set to become available in the fourth quarter of this year by way of a new Junos 11.x update.

Moving forward Juniper has a roadmap for continued innovation on its edge routing portfolio.

“You’ll see increased subscriber handling coming up and increased business service capabilities,” Sardella said. “We’re always improving on the mobility capabilities in our porftlio. That’s the definition of the universal edge, it’s the ability to handle consumer, business and mobile demand.”

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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