Hardware is one of the first considerations for a network administrator planning out his first enterprise-level network. One needs good, sturdy hardware that will run for years with minimal downtime, without fail. In addition, the hardware, including routers and switches, require an OS with features allowing one to perform complex and elaborate networking tasks. For many years Cisco Systems has met or exceeded these requirements.
Although Cisco has been the undisputed “king of networking” for many years, Juniper Networks has been in the running. Juniper’s networking equipment has lately seen a rise in popularity, due to administrators noticing their high reliability and speed. Their attractive pricing also cannot be ignored; one can pay up to half the price for new Juniper switches, routers, and firewalls compared to their Cisco counterparts. So, for a network administrator, should one choose used Cisco routers and switches or used Juniper routers and switches?
The choice between Cisco and Juniper boils down to a few key decisions and requirements. An example of Cisco and Juniper’s differing mentalities are relevant here. Cisco for many years has been manufacturing “all-in-one” machines; by and large its routers and firewalls are meant to do a great deal more than simply routing and firewalling. Used Cisco’s routers can work for small businesses, as they often contain VPN, remote entry, and even Ethernet switch add-ons.
Clearly, Cisco is creating versatile and multi-purpose machines, so that a corporation wouldn’t require multiple different machines for their firewall, VPN, router, etc. They would simply require one box that saves space and combines everything in a clear, clean manner.
Juniper takes the direct opposite approach, focusing on specialized machines to ensure optimal speed. Simply put, if you buy a Juniper router, you are getting just a Juniper router and nothing else. Juniper has recently been experimenting with Cisco’s versatile boxes model, but by and large, when buying Juniper, the emphasis is on specialization and speed.
This type of functionality has made them especially popular with businesses, such as Internet Service Providers or content-distribution firms, requiring hyper-fast core routers and switches for their networks, new and used. These are organizations handling many terabytes per day, and to succeed in such a business, one needs stability and specialization offered by each device. Juniper’s core routers and switches, new and used meet this requirement.
Cisco is still the number one name in networking. After all, they were the first that got into the enterprise networking world, and are still leading the way when it comes to units sold for enterprise and small business networking due to their versatility and rich features.
Juniper, by contrast, has in recent years made significant strides in addressing this problem from a different angle: their hardware is more specialized toward larger enterprises, such as cloud centers and internet service providers, which require lots of speed to process the large amounts of data running through them.
At the end of the day, the decision to populate your networking racks needs to depend on your own experience, requirements, and planning. Be it Cisco or Juniper; make sure to plan ahead and buy the required routing equipment to ensure optimal performance and usability for your networking environment.