Moving forward, metro networks will be less about transport and more about being service-centric, said Juniper Networks Director of Product Marketing Management Donyel Jones-Williams in an interview. Juniper today announced three products that will play a key role in supporting the company’s vision for metro network evolution.

The products include two universal metro routers (ACX5448 and ACX6360) and a packet transport router (PTX10002).

Metro Network Evolution
Service providers that operate metro networks see bandwidth demand increasing as carrier traffic exchange points move closer to the network edge and as wireless carriers begin to deploy higher-speed 5G networks that will require increased backhaul capacity.

The Juniper ACX5448 universal metro router aims to get in front of this demand by supporting 100 Gbps speeds. As Jones-Williams explained, the product is “optimized for 100 gigabits – it’s cost-optimized to meet customers’ price expectations.”

The ACX6360 also targets service providers that operate metro networks and integrates both optical and router capability in a single device, eliminating the need to deploy separate optical and routing devices, said Jones-Williams.

Today, some service providers “have one group deploying optical and another deploying routers,” he noted. The ACX6360 changes that by enabling providers to deploy it initially as an optical platform and subsequently purchase a license to add routing capability.

The PTX10002 universal metro router targets operators of carrier traffic exchange points. It supports up to 60 100-Gbps connections – an important capability for that market, Jones-Williams said. The exchange point operators can use the product to minimize the number of hops between service providers, he explained. By using the product, traffic may only need two hops to get virtually anywhere, he said.

All of the new Juniper offerings are designed to be more “agile,” Jones-Williams said.

“Software makes them more self-driving,” he commented. Juniper is one of numerous carriers that have been rethinking their product offerings to add a higher level of software control.

All three new Juniper offerings will be available by the third quarter of 2018, Jones-Williams said.  The ACX5448 is already in trials with customers.

The Fiber Broadband Association estimates that approximately 1.4 million miles of fiber will be needed in the top 25 metro markets in the U.S. to support 5G and other services.

Updated to correct product part numbers.