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Juniper announces routers, line card using new Trio 6 ASIC

Juniper Networks has announced routers and a line card to take advantage of the more scalable, efficient Trio 6 ASIC. It also announced a higher-throughput Express 5 ASIC.

Juniper introduced a line card and two edge routers to its MX portfolio, as well as a new generation of Trio ASICs to power the devices.

The MX10K LC9600 Line Card, available now, and MX10004 Multi-Service and MX304 Compact Multi-Service edge routers, shipping later this year, are all run with the new Trio 6 ASIC, which better optimizes logical scale and power efficiency than the Trio 5 silicon did.

The MX10K LC9600 Line Card offers a throughput of 9.6 Tbps per slot and scalability of up to 400 Gb data transfer speeds. The card includes embedded media access control security on each port. It is operated through Juniper's Junos OS, the programmable network operating system Juniper uses to deliver automation at scale to its routing, switching and security portfolios.

The MX10004 multi-service edge router is a 7RU, 4-slot line card configuration in the same universal chassis as the rest of the MX10k line. It can support the LC9600 line card and the LC2101 and LC480 line cards. The MX304 is a compact, highly power-efficient 2RU routing platform intended for use cases where space and power are scant. Both MX routers run the Junos OS.

The new devices, introduced Tuesday, will interest enterprises and service providers, particularly those with edge deployments that require local compute power, said Will Townsend, vice president and principal analyst of Moor Insights.

The 7 nm Trio 6 chip powering the new appliances optimizes logical scale and programmability for edge service nodes, placing less emphasis on throughput, Juniper said. The chip marks a 70% improvement in power efficiency over the Trio 5, although its use in specific appliances will cause variability in that number.

Juniper Networks also announced a new ASIC in the Express line, optimizing throughput in core network use cases, which will power its PTX10K series platforms.

The MX10004 router
The MX10004 router

The Express 5 offers 28.8 Tbps throughput speeds, doubling the 14.4 Tbps throughput speeds offered by the previous generation of Express ASICs, as well as a 45% improvement in power efficiency, Juniper said. The Express 5 reaches 800 Gb data transfer speeds, although that adoption cycle won't commence until 400 Gb has finished rolling out.

The new chips are a part of Juniper's ongoing attempt to differentiate itself from its competition by leaning into purpose-built silicon. Using different ASICs for edge and core scenarios allows the company to maximize throughput in the data center and logical scale at the edge instead of balancing both attributes in a single chip.

"If you talk to other players around the industry, they think they can get away with using more broadly purposed ASICs," said Lewis Insights analyst Chris Lewis. "But Juniper has always been very good at focusing on the detail of the network and the data center, and that's why they've gone down this route."

Major Juniper Networks competitors in the ASIC space include Cisco's Silicon One, which is standalone silicon, and Nokia's FP5.

The MX10K LC9600 Line Card is available now; the MX10004 Multiservice Edge Router will be available later in the second half of 2022, while the MX304 Compact Multiservice Edge Router will be orderable in the first half of the year. Juniper has not released a timeline for the PTX appliances powered by the Express 5, nor has it released pricing for any of the products.

Madelaine Millar is a news writer covering network technology at TechTarget. She has previously written about science and technology for MIT's Lincoln Laboratory and the Khoury College of Computer Science, as well as covering community news for Boston Globe Media.

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