Comparing Juniper Routers and Switches to Cisco’s Line of Products

Finding the right networking gear for your company is a challenging task. Performance is important, but usability is something that is equally as vital. When choosing between Juniper and Cisco, there are several things to consider. This month’s blog post will unpack the various differences between the two companies in an effort to help you choose between Juniper routers and switches and Cisco’s line of products.

A Brief History of the Two

Cisco is the older of the two companies. They were formed in 1987, work with a more monolithic architecture, but are working to become more modular, and most of Cisco’s products are compatible with each other, allowing for greater user control. Juniper was formed in 1996, supports 20 million lines of code, their products are modular in nature, and fairly compatible across the company’s EX, M, MX, T, and J series of Juniper routers and switches.

Both companies are viable options, but Juniper offers a unique approach. Juniper was born out of the need to develop networking equipment that was geared towards the service industry. Their gear is highly purpose built, whereas Cisco was built with the enterprise in mind. This is not to say that Juniper routers and switches aren’t capable of servicing the enterprise market. In fact, over the last few years they have worked hard to carve into this industry, understanding that it provides them with access to a larger customer base.

“A lot of these products are the result of acquisitions,” said RK Anand, Juniper senior vice president of foundation technologies, referring to the NetScreen, Unisphere and other inorganic gear in Juniper’s portfolio.

“We have to be careful about an installed base, customer commitments and continued delivery on products we acquire,” said Anand. “Our approach has been fairly deliberate and planned and scheduled in a systematic manner about incorporating and bringing technologies that come as a result of these acquisitions into JUNOS while at the same time, continuing to ship existing systems.”

Juniper also boasts a simplified library of products, ensuring that you can easily find the right Juniper switches and routers for your company. Cisco’s library of products can be complicated at times and difficult to navigate if you have limited experience in the networking industry.

“Our competition seems to specialize in producing a new operating system with each product line. And this doesn’t serve the customer well. We try to have a consistent single operating system and a single unified architecture for two reasons: internally [at Juniper], it is tremendously efficient because we get to solve difficult problems once rather than solving them over and over again; from a customer’s standpoint products appear to be consistent and are consistent, so they are a lot easier to use. When we add functionality to the operating system, we integrate it in,” said Juniper CTO and founder Pradeep Sindhu. “We don’t sort of patch it on the side. But I’m much more comfortable talking about what Juniper does rather than what our competitors do.”

While multi-operating systems offer a unique set of characteristics, Juniper has remained loyal to its customers who are interested in the precision that is offered with a single operating system.

“A single operating system is a need that our customers are telling us they have. They do not like the fact that they have to read manuals this thick to figure out what release of the operating system works with which particular product and products, and what the combination of limitations are that are imposed by particular subsets of the products that they are using. That becomes very complicated. Much of this is reflected in operational cost increasing for the customer,” added Sindhu.

What We Offer

Here at Network IT, we carry a wide selection of Juniper routers and Juniper switches. We offer our products and services to clients in Toronto, the GTA, Ontario, and all of Canada. If you have any questions or would like to speak to one of our networking specialists, please feel free to contact us today through our website.

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