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Juniper Networks' enterprise router takes aim at Cisco branches

Juniper's new branch office J-Series routers provide all-in-one security, VoIP, WAN acceleration box to rival Cisco's ISR router.

Juniper Networks announced new editions of its J-series enterprise router this week in a move that keeps pace with Cisco and gives enterprises more choices in their branch office strategies.

The new J4350 and J6350 J-series enterprise routers include application acceleration, IP telephony, routing and security technologies aimed squarely at Cisco's Integrated Services Router (ISR).

"Cisco already offers a fair amount of rich features in its ISR router, and the market responded very well to integrating features like these into the branch office," said Steve Schuchart, an analyst with Current Analysis. "Juniper is going for a router in the branch office that can handle multiple services without significant slowdown of the box."

The branch office routers combine Juniper's existing Secure Services Gateways (SSG) security platform with IP telephony (IPT) technology gained from its partnership with Avaya. The SSG platform offers firewall/virtual private networking (FW/VPN), routing, and unified threat management (UTM) features, including intrusion prevention, antivirus (includes anti-spyware, anti-adware, anti-phishing), anti-spam, and Web filtering.

The new J4350 and J6350, which add to Juniper's existing J2300 router in the J-series lineup, will incorporate Avaya's G350 Media Gateway via plug-in cards in the first quarter next year, giving enterprises a VoIP-ready option for their branch offices.

Following the availability of Avaya's Juniper-specific VoIP technology, Juniper will offer services modules with WAN Application Acceleration (WXC) technology for the new routers, providing compression and caching, TCP and application-specific acceleration, as well as visibility and reporting functions.

The new routers bode well for Juniper users waiting for VoIP capabilities already enjoyed by Cisco shops, but they stop short of a truly integrated platform, according to Zeus Kerravala, a Yankee Group analyst.

"These routers don't solve the whole [VoIP] problem for Juniper users," Kerravala said. "All this announcement is, is a VoIP gateway that they put in the router. It lets you go from TDM to IP, but you still have to hand off traffic to an IP PBX. You still have to put an IP PBX behind the gateway."

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