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Juniper Networks, chief competitor to Cisco in the high-end routing market, has unveiled a monster high speed router designed for the core of service provider networks.

The T640 Internet Routing Node (code-named 'Gibson'), which uses third generation of high-density silicon, supports 32 10Gbps (OC-192c) ports in a half-rack chassis, and offers eight 40Gbps slots. It offers bandwidth density greater than four times that of its nearest competitors, according to the company.

Juniper is arguing that the underlying ("matrix") technology is so advanced (scalable to "multi-terrabit" backplane throughput) that it offers investment protection to its service provider customers. The lifespan of a T640 can be expected to be twice or even three times that of conventional core routers, it says.

Juniper named three customers (including the people behind the next-generation Internet2 Abilene network) of the T640 when it launched yesterday.

But how many other service providers will buy it?

For one thing, telco spending has collapsed under a mountain of debt.

What little spending is going on is invested in edge devices which can be used to set up profitable services that deliver a more rapid return on investment, according to conventional thinking in the networking market. The idea is that there's already excess bandwidth in carrier core networks - so why then do you need to provision more, now?

Juniper has consistently rejected these arguments but it seems to us that it's got a hard sell on its hands. ®

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