Cisco Says 'No Thanks' To Juniper's Infranet

Cisco Systems has "no interest" in participating in Juniper Networks'Infranet Initiative -- but other big names in industry join in. UPDATED, 6/29/04

June 29, 2004

2 Min Read
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Update, 6/29/04: Juniper officials said Tuesday that the Infranet Initiative Council itself, and not Juniper, had invited Cisco to join the group. The story below has been changed to reflect that clarification. Infranet Initiative officials also said they have still not had a formal reply from Cisco on whether or not Cisco plans to join the Infranet Initiative.

CHICAGO -- Cisco Systems last week said it had "no interest" in joining the Juniper Networks-led Infranet Initiative, an industry-standards effort that nevertheless picked up some steam at the Supercomm show. Despite Cisco's snub, the Infranet Initiative added new members and held its first formal executive council meeting at last week's Supercomm event. In addition to creator Juniper, the Infranet executive council now also includes British Telecom, Deutsche Telekom, Lucent, Hewlett-Packard, America Online, Ericsson, Siemens, Oracle, Polycom, NTT, China Unicom, Orange, Qwest, and Telenor, according to the group's Web site.

Tony Fisch, a spokesman for the Infranet group, said the first formal meeting lasted about a half a day, and was spent mostly on defining an "early working architecture" for the group's first technical goals, which are to develop two new standard interfaces -- one for client-to-network connections, and the other for carrier-to-carrier connections -- to better help service providers in their quest to support and deliver new advanced telecom services.

Juniper CTO Pradeep Sindhu has said the Infranet Initiative is designed to advance needed standards efforts, which it will then hand off to the appropriate standards bodies for approval.

While Juniper said the Infranet Council had formally invited Cisco to join the group, the networking giant did not respond directly. However, Sameer Padhye, Cisco's vice president of service provider marketing, said in an interview last week that Cisco "doesn't see the value" in joining the Infranet Initiative."It's a good marketing tactic, but it's nothing new," said Padhye about the Infranet Initiative. Cisco, he said, will continue to help advance standards efforts by participating in working groups at the IETF and ITU, as it has historically. The existing standards bodies, Padhye said, "are the proper approach" to creating standards.

Fisch said the Infranet group is now asking member companies to contribute end-use case studies to help decide exactly how to ensure that the developed standards meet user needs. An early working reference architecture, he said, should be posted on the Infranet Web site within the next few weeks.

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