Juniper, Ericsson make a big deal

Juniper Networks Inc. and Ericsson Inc. last month unveiled the fruits of a joint development agreement initiated 15 months ago.

The companies rolled out a Gateway General Packet Radio Service Support Node (GGSN) for mobile wireless operators. A GGSN is a network element that helps operators migrate their voice-centric mobile wireless infrastructures to multimedia-capable 3G networks that offer e-commerce, gaming and live application sharing.

The GGSN is branded AXB 250 06 GGSN by Ericsson. It is essentially a Juniper M20 series router purpose built for mobile wireless GGSN applications.

Ericsson supplied the GGSN capabilities. The AXB 250 06 is designed for use in both 2.5G General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) and 3G Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) networks.

Wind, an Italian operator of integrated fixed-mobile-Internet communications services, is among the first companies to adopt the new GGSN, as is Inmarsat. Meanwhile, Rogers Telecommunication and China Mobile have 3G/GPRS core networks that are also likely customers for the new AXB 250 06.

Since it is essentially a reworked version of Juniper’s M20, it runs the same JUNOS routing software as that platform. That means the AXB 250 06 has the same IP routing features as the Juniper router, including native support for IPv6, the new version of IP that features QoS, addressing and mobile enhancements above and beyond IPv4.

The AXB 250 06 can also forward up to 350,000 packet/sec, the companies claim. It also supports Differentiated Services (DiffServ), Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) and four 3G Partnership Project QoS classes.

The AXB 250 06 can interface directly with other IP devices and function as an edge router between the mobile network and the Internet without requiring traffic adaptation, Juniper said. It can also be integrated into an existing IP backbone network, the company added.

Juniper expects the market for mobile IP core networks with GGSNs to grow from US$465 million this year to almost US$1.3 billion in 2005. In addition to the M20, Juniper indicated that its M40 and new M40e routers make “ideal” platforms for mobile wireless networks, yet the company would not be specific when asked if its GGSN would scale beyond the M20.

Juniper and Ericsson will compete with Nortel, Nokia and Cisco in the GGSN market.

Pricing for the AXB 250 06 was not disclosed.