Juniper Networks' decision to kill off its MobileNext evolved packet core (EPC) reflects marketplace struggles as well as the company's desire to use software-defined network (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) to satisfy customers' future requirements.
When MobileNext was introduced in February 2011 at the Mobile World Congress, Juniper touted the product as "the industry's first open mobile core for 2G/3G and LTE networks that enables mobile operators to profit from the rapid increase in mobile data traffic from smartphones and other mobile device types." The MobileNext software suite was designed to run on Juniper's MX 3D Universal Edge Router and Junos software platform, and includes a mobile broadband gateway, mobile control gateway and policy manager.
MobileNext has been competing directly against Cisco Systems' ASR 5000 LTE gateway, which was introduced in June 2012 and became the first Cisco platform based on technology gained via the company's $2.9 billion acquisition of Starent in 2009. Straight out of the gate, Cisco signed Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and Bharti Airtel as customers for the ASR 5000.
But Juniper's offering has struggled to establish a firm beachhead. MobileNext's biggest customer win was Finland's Elisa, which announced early this year that it would use the Juniper platform for its LTE service.
A Juniper spokesperson told Network World, which first reported MobileNext's demise, that the vendor remains committed to its strategy, which is "to virtualize mobile networks and deliver innovation through our existing portfolio of backhaul, security, routing and edge services with products such as the MX Series 3D Universal Edge Routers, SRX Series Services Gateways and JunosV App Engine software virtualization platform."
Network World also obtained an internal memo from Daniel Hua, senior vice president of Juniper's Routing Business Unit, indicating that going forward Juniper intends to provide virtualized mobile infrastructure (routing, switching, SDN and NFV) and specific virtualized network functions.
The vendor already signaled a move in that direction during the 2013 Mobile World Congress, where it showed a virtual form of the mobile control gateway running on the JunosV App Engine.
In addition, the Juniper spokesperson told Network World that the company is not shutting down its Junos Content video and media delivery product line, despite rumors to the contrary.
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