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Juniper's Ambitions Bigger Than Buyouts

Juniper Networks' vision of the future
is a compelling one, especially if you can suspend reality while you consider its merits. Announced last fall, Juniper's "Infranet" of the future certainly makes sense -- an all-encompassing network of networks based on industry standards, which supports dynamic security, quality-of-service guarantees and zero downtime. But as company CTO Pradeep Sindhu admitted Tuesday, actually getting to that place is a lot harder than describing the destination.

"It's easy to put up a vision," but much harder to actually make it happen,
Sindhu told the attendees at the Network Outlook conference in Redwood Shores, Calif., Tuesday morning. While Juniper has volunteered its leadership in the effort, getting others to play along with its vision is what will make the 'Infranet' a reality or not, Sindhu said.

"If we had 100 percent market share, there wouldn't be a problem [in putting the Infranet idea into products]," Sindhu said after his talk. "But without the industry standards, we're not going to make much progress either. The problem is, people still sometimes think they can get a temporary [market] advantage with a proprietary solution. But that's almost always the wrong thing to do for the industry overall."

Still in its infancy, Juniper's Infranet idea has at its core two standard interfaces, one between clients and the network, and one between carriers. The client interface, Sindhu explained, is needed to tell the network what type of services an application might need.

"Today, there is no way for an application to communicate with the network, to tell it what the communication wants or needs," Sindhu said. Without such a standard, he said, new network applications will be hard-pressed to reach the ubiquity of voice-tone phone calls.

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