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Juniper Launches Security Blades

Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) today unveiled new blades for its NetScreen 5000 series of security devices in an attempt to tackle bandwidth-hungry applications such as voice and video (see Juniper Enhances Security Portfolio).

According to Juniper, the blades, or Secure Port Modules, can be slotted into the 5000 and offer a combination of firewall and VPN features. The blades are essentially circuitboards supporting two Juniper-built ASICs. They offer up to 30 Gbit/s of firewall performance and up to 20 Gbit/s of VPN (virtual private network) throughput, the vendor claims.

Firewalls are used to protect networks from external threats such as viruses and worms, whereas VPNs are typically used to give remote sites and individual users access to internal networks.

Juniper is pushing the envelope. The company's previous blades for the 5000 were capable of 12 Gbit/s of firewall and 6 Gbit/s of VPN throughput. Paul Stamp, a research analyst at Forrester Research Inc. says that the 5000 now leads the firewall pack. It leaves their competition standing, from a performance standpoint,” he says.

The major competitor for the NetScreen 5000 is Cisco Systems Inc.’s (Nasdaq: CSCO) Catalyst 6500 device. Like Juniper, Cisco also offers specialist security blades for its appliance. A Cisco spokeswoman confirmed that the company’s firewall modules can handle between 20 and 22 Gbit/s of throughput. She added that Cisco’s VPN modules are now capable of up to 24 Gbit/s.

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