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Juniper Targets Cisco With Multi-Chassis Core Router

Juniper Networks on Friday (Dec. 3) announced availability of its TX Matrix platform, a piece of hardware that can connect up to four of the company's high-end routers to provide higher throughput and simpler management for its largest service-provider customers.

While the company's multi-chassis offering may seem to offer far lower throughput than main competitor Cisco Systems' latest top router, Juniper said its new product gives service providers and large enterprises a simpler, cheaper and more straightforward path to scaling their backbone networks.

"We want to provide the most amount of capacity in the least amount of [physical] footprint," said Tom Jacobs, senior product manager for Juniper's core router division. The TX Matrix, Juniper said, is contained in a two-thirds-height, 19-inch rack chassis, and uses the same JUNOS operating system as the company's entire router line.

The switching and routing elements in the TX Matrix can connect up to four of Juniper's T640 routers, allowing the configuration to act as a single router, easing administration and increasing reliability. Base pricing for the TX Matrix starts at $175,000, and could range as high as $1 million, depending on the configuration, Juniper said.

Cisco's CRS-1, does offer potentially greater throughput than the TX Matrix's advertised 2.56 Terabits-per-second rate since it can link together more routing chassis. But Cisco's offering also uses a new operating system and is housed in a wider, taller cabinet, which might scare off potential users who don't want to radically alter their infrastructures.

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