Juniper is integrating the IP network and the optical network to target Tier 2s that want to use their networks for data center interconnection in the metro network. The key is its upcoming acquisition of optical company BTI Systems, along with its existing NorthStar Controller for software-defined networking (SDN) in the WAN.
“Service providers have had two different organizations: one focused on optical and one focused on IP,” says Donyel Jones-Williams, a director of product marketing at Juniper. “By integrating those two layers, we’re bringing those worlds together to engineer the network holistically in one shot.”
Juniper calls NorthStar a WAN SDN controller, focused on optimizing Internet traffic over MPLS. The term “WAN SDN” is maddeningly distinct from the term “SD-WAN,” the latter referring to technology that optimizes a business customer’s application traffic across its different connections, whether MPLS, broadband, or wireless.
For WAN SDN, the NorthStar Controller automates the creation of traffic-engineered paths across the network. It uses Juniper’s Junos OS, optimization algorithms, and transport abstraction. Together with BTI Systems’ packet optical technology, Juniper plans to bring more efficiency to its customers’ metro markets.
“WAN SDN is a solution that’s focused on carriers that have a backbone infrastructure that they can use to sell services for data center interconnect,” says Jones-Williams. “In the DCI world, I can go to an operator and request that service, and they would use NorthStar to engineer.”
The metro is an opportunity because more traffic is being cached there rather than traversing longer distances. Juniper is targeting Tier 2 service providers with more regional networks.
Nearly all of the big service providers in the world are already working to at least map their optical and IP layers to get a unified view of their networks. Sedona Systems claims it’s working with 95 percent of all fixed-line and mobile network operators worldwide.
“What makes us different is NorthStar,” says Jones-Williams. “We already have the IP view. In one controller we bring both those worlds together.”
Unifying the IP and optical layers, in addition to creating efficiencies, will allow operators to remove some optical transponders in their networks, eliminating potential fail points.
“If you take out the transponder and put it in a router, you give the router direct visibility to that optical realm,” says Jones-Williams.
To that end, Juniper has developed new linecards for its PTX and MX series routers, designed for multivendor interoperability and data center interconnect and metro networking needs.