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Cisco or Juniper, Which one should I choose?

Being in charge of choosing the right boxes for a service provider network is definitely a hard task specially if it is a large network migration and this is exactly what we were doing in the past few months. The challenge here is that your are faced with a lot of choices that will affect the future business of your company. You will need to see a little bit in the future and consider the traffic needs, the new features and technology trends in the few years to come.

When it comes to service provider networks the biggest competitors in the market are Cisco and Juniper. Each of them has great marketing claims about him self and about his competitor. However, I have to admit that the question “Which one to choose?” can not be easily answered in that simple direct way because you have too many things to consider to make that decision.

You are faced with your engineering technical considerations which we may discuss in coming posts. There is also business considerations and which is a big important part of the story. CAPEX, OPEX offers and discounts, Support contracts, presence, reliability of support, technical team training, migration from one vendor to another and its effect on the customers and services offered. Also don’t forget business relationships and having multi-vendor environment vs not.

If you are involved in choosing boxes for your service provider network migration you are simply required to consider all your technical issues and many of these business issues.

I am sure that there are more experienced engineers who can write in this area a lot better than I am doing now. But from my experience both vendors have their own strengths and weakness as a I said before.

My advice to you is to be open minded and not to biased to any vendor, think like an engineer, verify every word they say about their boxes, search the internet for potential problems known about each device you are considering and face them with it, know the road-maps, ask experts you know and believe me both vendors will help you a lot in finding and verifying their competitor marketing claims.


  1. We are going through the exact process (still at the evaluation phase though).

    in our case the evaluation team is divided into a technical team that only bothers itself with the technical end of things and feeds the rest of the evaluation teams. finally all the team leads decide on a product….Egypt seems to be moving really fast in this area since most vendors actually brought in guys from their Egypt office for the presentations:-)…

  2. We replaced cisco with Juniper on our core equipment (P) and got very happy on the decision, the price and performance was better, we had much less problem with juniper than we had with cisco and juniper is much more flexible when we need to implement some features. We left cisco just for the PE devices.

  3. @mark

    I believe that Juniper is adding too much to the market by the very strong competition. Juniper has very strong portfolio and was filling a lot of gaps in Cisco’s portfolio in which Cisco is filling now with new platforms like ASR series. In this network upgrade we brought some new Juniper boxes to the network too.

  4. Hello Wael,
    I agree with you, its hard to compare, but regarding CAPEX,OPEX…cost, i think juniper will always be better, for Technical assistance ofcorse cisco got the stong arm of TAC.

    I would not suggest any one to have the CISCO IOS XR 3.6.1 running in the core due to its bugs & capabilities.

    Thanks & B.regards
    Ahmed Elhoussiny,2x CCIE# 21988 (R&S-SP)
    Network Consultant & Cisco Academy Instructor

  5. Dear all,
    Have anyone use to huawei “Router”?
    It’s always meet customer request.

  6. Hello Wael

    juniper is very strong product and Its build on ISP’s levels from the start so its minded with avilability and strong performance i think you should think about juniper and the most strong thing about products is bulid on junos platform so its same to manager from every product you buy from juniper and you want find that dff between cisco routers and switches and firewalls its all dff platform if you have anything to ask about please send me an email

  7. Hi,

    My name is Asheesh. I am new in IP field.Basically i am working for the O&M.
    Can you Please tell me how these routers are chosen for a network. Its not just about Cisco Vs Juniper but if i talk only about cisco how it is decided that 7600 series should be chosen or CSR router or GSR router..
    I will be obliged if you can give me an example of router selection procedure with a new hypothetical network having some specific requirement.
    Warm Regards,