Juniper Mx Series: Introduction and Features

Juniper Networks released its first router, M40, in year 1998. The M40 was able to outperform any other router architecture. The M40 was also the first router to have a true separation of the control and data planes.
The model name M40 was given for its ability to process 40 million packets per second (Mpps). The “M” refers to the multiple services available on the router, such as MPLS (Multi Protocol Label Switching) with a wide variety of VPNs. The primary purpose for the M Series was to allow Service Providers to deliver services based on IP while at the same time supporting legacy frame relay and ATM networks.
Due to increase in the number of customers, the task of Service Providers to support them has also increased exponentially. Frame relay and ATM have been decimated, as customers are demanding high-speed Layer 2 and Layer 3 Ethernet-based services.
Nearly all networking equipment connects via Ethernet. Companies have challenging requirements to reduce operating costs and at the same time provide more services. Ethernet enables the simplification in network operations, administration, and maintenance. The MX Series was introduced in 2007 to solve these new challenges. It is optimized for delivering high-density and high-speed Layer 2 and Layer 3 Ethernet services. The “M” still refers to the multiple services heritage, while the “X” refers to the new switching capability and focus on 10G interfaces and beyond.
It’s no easy task to create a platform that’s able to solve these new challenges. The MX Series has a strong pedigree: although mechanically different, it leverages technology from both the M and T Series for chassis management, switching fabric, and the routing engine.
Features that you have come to know and love on the M and T Series are certainly present on the MX Series as it runs on the same image of Junos. In addition to the “oldies, but goodies,” is an entire featureset focused on Service Provider switching and broadband network gateway (BNG). Here’s just a sample of what is available on the MX:
High availability
Non-Stop Routing (NSR), Non-Stop Bridging (NSB), Graceful Routing Engine Switch over (GRES), Graceful Restart (GR), and In-Service Software Upgrade (ISSU)
RIP, OSPF, IS-IS, BGP, and Multicast
Full suite of Spanning Tree Protocols (STP), Service Provider VLAN tag manipulation, QinQ, and the ability to scale beyond 4,094 bridge domains by leveraging virtual switches
Inline services
Network Address Translation (NAT), IP Flow Information Export (IPFIX), Tunnel Services, and Port Mirroring
Broadband services
PPPoX, DHCP, Hierarchical QoS, and IP address tracking
Multi-Chassis Link Aggregation, Virtual Chassis, Logical Systems, Virtual Switches
With such a large featureset, the use case of the MX Series is very broad. It’s common to see it in the core of a Service Provider network, providing BNG, or in the Enterprise providing edge routing or core switching.
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