MX204: performance beast in a compact one-rack unit with a throughput of up to 400 Gbps full-duplex

While internet usage and demand for more bandwidth continues to increase, network infrastructures need to be upgraded with components which meet modern requirements such as reliability, scalability and being feature-rich at the same time. If your applications require advanced features you often have to buy one of the “big-boxes” with a large capacity even if the device does not perfectly fit your specific network needs and of course, it goes beyond the constraints of your CAPEX and OPEX. With the introduction of the new MX204 at the end of 2017, Juniper Networks added a new device to their Universal Routing Platform which filled the gap for the small form factor needs without reducing the full feature set of the “big-boxes”.

Within this tech blog, we would like to highlight the details and benefits of the brand-new full-featured Edge-Router MX204 from Juniper Networks. The MX204 platform offers ultra-high density and throughput in a compact one-rack unit form factor. As the MX204 also runs with Juniper Networks Junos Trio chipset, it provides enhanced bandwidth, service and subscriber scalability. Combined with the routing, switching, security, and service feature set of the Junos OS and the support for automation and telemetry capabilities it addresses the edge networking requirements of our service provider customers.


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High density and throughput

The MX204 delivers a throughput of up to 400 Gbps full-duplex, with a total of twelve fixed ports. It’s a non-modular chassis which means you can’t insert any additional components like Multiservice Modular Interfaces Cards (MS-MIC) or a redundant Routing Engine (RE). The set of four ports (PIC0) are rate selectable and configurable at 10 Gbps (by using a breakout cable), 40 Gbps, or 100 Gbps speed. These ports support QSFP28 and QSFP+ transceivers. The set of eight ports (PIC1) support SFP and SFP+ transceivers and operate at a fixed rate of 1 or 10 Gbps – 1Gbps can be configured starting with Junos OS in version 18.1R1. If more interfaces are needed, you can use Juniper Networks Fusion technology to expand the number of ports using the EX or QFX series platform as satellite devices which gives you even more flexibility.

Here, the Port Checker Tool from Juniper Networks helps to clarify which interface combinations are valid. Having all valid configurations in mind is essential as you can’t operate all four 100G transceivers with additional 10G interfaces because the maximum capacity of 400 Gbps cannot be oversubscribed. All components – including the Packet Forwarding Engine and WAN interfaces – are managed by the RE’s eight-core Broadwell CPU and 32-GB DDR4 RAM.

Excellent form factor, power and cooling

As you can see from the figure below, three replaceable fan modules cool the MX204. Two redundant power supplies ensure that the system continues to function if one of the power supplies fails. As with existing MX models, the MX204 is available as AC or DC version. It is possible to change the system from AC to DC – or vice versa – by merely changing the power supply. In addition to this, the platform comes with excellent power efficiency, only consuming 0.9 W/Gb.


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MX204 – a real performance beast

All in all, if we consider the technical specs and the feature set, we can say that the MX204 Edge-Router is genuinely a performance beast and suitable for many applications such as peering, provider edge or distributed BNG for up to 32,000 Dual-Stack subscribers. If you are interested in the MX204 platform, we can help you figure out if this fits your network needs. We have the MX204 up and running in our lab XT³Lab and already supported our customers with advanced proof of concept testing. During these tests, we stressed the system using our 100G IXIA tester and the box performed great in all tests so far. We expect the system to find a wide adoption rate in the market.


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Sebastian Graf

Sebastian Graf

Xantaro Deutschland GmbH
Team Lead Technology & Innovation

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