User-defined networks

10 Mar 2006

Juniper's chairman, president and CEO, Scott Kriens talks to Telecom Asia about how networks will become user-centric and customers will demand more secure, reliable and intelligent connections to deliver customized content

Telecom Asia: Juniper has placed great emphasis on being the provider of 'intelligent infrastructure.' What exactly is intelligent infrastructure‾

Scott Kriens: Users today, whether consumer or business, are utilizing a variety of devices to access content of different types across physical networks running on different mediums [both] wired and wireless. Currently these segments know nothing about each other and have no links or references to each other. The intelligent infrastructure sits in the middle of all this to help make the necessary connections.

The notion of the next generation of networks requires each user to be uniquely identifiable. From there, providers need to send content securely and customize the experience for the individual or business. There is a clear shift today from broadcast to custom cast.

The user-centric network concept is bandied about by many players. How do the various visions for this compare among different technology vendors‾

If you look at the computer industry when it segmented, Intel made its bet on being the best microprocessor, while Microsoft pinned its flag on being the best operating system - neither firm tried to be everything. They looked to focus on their own segments.

We are distinct in that we are not trying to be the provider of the devices, the content, applications and the network. We see others trying to do all of those things. While it would be better for the industry if one company wrote all software [and] built all hardware so that everything worked together end-to-end and seamlessly-but that's simply not possible. No one company can provide everything in networking.

So the question [is]: who has the segmentation right‾ Who has the right and proper focus on the segments that have emerged‾ The companies who get that right are the ones that will prevail.

Juniper seems to be aggressively on the acquisition trail. Is this key to your overall strategy‾

We have bought five companies in the last year based on a three-part strategy. We bought Netscreen to layer security into our networking portfolio. We also layered application performance technology into our product mix and more recently we added access technologies which all help deliver the intelligent network.

The objective is to have the infrastructure, the security and the means to enable applications to perform to user-expectations. We will acquire technology when we feel we are not in a position to develop it quickly in-house.

Your recent acquisition of Funk Software brought in a very specific network access tool. Is this to address Cisco's move to develop a new network access architecture‾

This is to establish a position in a market for unified network access. The difference between us and our competitors is that when they say end-to-end they mean proprietary. We are all about open-network standards and letting devices get onto a network in an open standard way based on published and freely available technology.

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