Juniper enhances routers with MPLS VPNs

Juniper Networks this week announced enhancements to its Internet core routers that add more service intelligence to the devices.

The enhancements include new hardware interfaces and software designed to enable IP services, such as Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS)-based Layer 3 VPNs, without compromising performance.

The MPLS-based Layer 3 VPN feature complies with RFC 2547bis. RFC 2547bis VPNs are also known as BGP/MPLS VPNs because Border Gateway Protocol is used to distribute VPN routing information across a provider's backbone and MPLS is used to forward VPN traffic from one site to another.

This contrasts with Layer 2 MPLS VPNs, which Juniper already supports via a feature it calls MPLS Circuit Cross-connect. MPLS Circuit Cross-connect is a Layer 2 encapsulation method that transports Layer 2 packets -- such as ATM or frame relay traffic -- in MPLS label switched paths. The service provider is responsible for Layer 2 connectivity; the details of how routing is done within the private customer network is the customer's responsibility.

Since no Layer 3 parsing or lookup is done, Circuit Cross-connect supports the transmission of any Layer 3 protocols in the packet payload.

For VPN management and provisioning, Juniper announced it is working with several third-party software vendors, including Dorado Software, Gold Wire Technology, Intelliden, and Orchestream, all of whom are developing software to support Juniper Networks RFC 2547bis VPNs.

Other enhancements rolled out this week include hardware interfaces for aggregating increasing numbers of dedicated circuits per router. The interfaces include a channelized STM-1 to E1 card, long-haul Gigabit Ethernet, and Multilink Services. These modules are designed to allow service providers to provide dedicated access options to their customers.

The long-haul Gigabit Ethernet interface supports distances of up to 70 kilometers. The Multilink Service features enables service providers to bond multiple T1/E1s together to appear as a single multi-megabit access link.

Juniper has also added accounting profile filters to its routers to provide a way to collect statistics for accounting and billing applications. By classifying services based on accounting profiles, providers can bill traffic on a user-to-user basis, Juniper says.

The software enhancements are available now in JUNOS 4.4. The hardware modules cost US$30,000 apiece and are also available now.

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