Ericsson partners with Juniper Networks, ECI Telecom for 5G transport

Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) has announced it plans to address the 5G mobile network market with the assistance of transport equipment from Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR) and ECI Telecom. The pairings have raised eyebrows because Ericsson has had longstanding relationships with its new 5G partners’ competitors, Cisco and Ciena.

Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) has announced it plans to address the 5G mobile network market with the assistance of transport equipment from Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR) and ECI Telecom. The pairings have raised eyebrows because Ericsson has had longstanding relationships with its new 5G partners’ competitors, including Cisco and Ciena.

Which is not to say that Ericsson has no experience with its 5G associates. Sally Bament, vice president, service provider marketing for Juniper Networks, points out the two companies have worked together for 18 years, albeit mostly in a reseller arrangement. Ericsson also integrates Juniper’s SRX Series Services Gateway into its radio base stations. The new collaboration will see Ericsson’s Router 6000 line (both fronthaul and backhaul elements) paired with Juniper Network’s MX Series 5G Universal Routing Platform and PTX Series Packet Transport Routers. The combination will enable cell site to core IP/MPLS transport as well as unified security, all under Ericsson management and orchestration. These connections could leverage the DWDM capabilities resident in the PTX Series, which are interoperable with both the Ericsson and Juniper routers.

For other optical transport needs, ECI will offer its line of metro packet-optical transport platforms. The Israeli company also has experience with Ericsson, having collaborated on network deployments in Denmark, Greece, the U.S., and Brazil (see, for example, “ECI, Ericsson team to build fiber-optic network for Danish E-learning Cooperative”). The optical hardware also will operate under Ericsson management and orchestration.

Ericsson will round out the 5G transport offering with its MINI-LINK microwave radios. "Mobile transport infrastructure is critical for securing peak 5G radio performance and enabling the promise of new 5G services,” commented Heidi Adams, senior research director at IHS Markit, via an Ericsson press release. “By complementing its microwave transport and IP backhaul solutions with optical transport, edge, core, and security platforms from its partners, Ericsson will be well positioned to offer end-to-end, integrated mobile transport solutions aligned with the needs of new 5G radio and mobile core networks."

Despite its history with its 5G teammates, Ericsson also had other collaborators it could have chosen for the new initiative. In the optical realm, Ericsson has teamed with Ciena since 2014 in a relationship that has paired Ericsson’s routers with Ciena optical transport systems (see “Ericsson, Ciena pair on packet-optical transport, SDN development” and “Telstra taps Ericsson/Ciena team for end-to-end fiber-optic network upgrade”).

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