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Customer Use Cases for ACX Series Routers


When deploying a large numbers of devices, the tasks involved—from initial unboxing through fully-configured—can come at a significant cost. If the devices are staged in a warehouse, should a base configuration be added to them before they are distributed to the field? Who creates and adds the base configuration? How do they add the base configuration?

To avoid these costs, should a customer use just-in-time shipping to have the devices arrive at the installation site with the installer? This option can provide a potential savings, but it can also add more complexity for the installer, who must spend more time installing and bringing up the devices onsite. More complexity can lead to configuration errors and deployment delays, which ultimately result in extra cost to the customer.

The range of deployment scenarios for ACX routers is quite large. They can be deployed in service provider networks where the entire network is privately owned; they can be installed as customer premises equipment (CPE) devices in telco networks; they can be installed as part of a mobile service provider (MSP) network at a remote cell site, communicating back to the MSP securely over the Internet.

Given the wide variety of installation scenarios, Juniper Networks has enabled ACX routers to be rapidly deployed and automatically configured simply by unpacking them and powering them on. These automatic configuration capabilities help users reduce cost, speed deployment, increase configuration accuracy, and make the deployment process scalable.

There are multiple use cases where ACX routers can be deployed in the access and aggregation segments of the service provider network. The network configuration examples illustrated in this document cover following use cases:

  • Mobile backhaul (MBH)

  • Residential aggregation

  • Metro Ethernet for business access services

  • Metro Ethernet for wholesale MBH services

  • Field area network

This NCE illustrates how zero touch deployment (ZTD) can be enabled in a service provider’s metro network built with ACX routers. The use case can vary based on service provider preferences, as well as type of the technology used in the network to enable service delivery.

IEEE 802.3 Ethernet bridging

in this scenario, ACX routers are arranged in star, ring or chain topologies and connected to the metro aggregation router with Gigabit Ethernet or 10-Gigabit Ethernet optical links. The ACX routers are part of the metro infrastructure, which belongs to metro operators and serves to connect either end terminal units such as cell towers (NodeB, eNodeB, BTS, etc.) and customer CPEs, or other access nodes, such as DSLAMs, GPONs, etc. Metro Ethernet services are essentially enabled by means of 802.1ad (Q-in-Q) trunks.

Figure 1 shows some of the locations where an ACX router can be deployed in a mobile service provider (MSP) or metro Ethernet environment.

Figure 1: ACX Router Deployment Locations
ACX Router Deployment Locations


Replacing IEEE 802.3 with IP/MPLS as the foundation technology in the access segment of the network leads to multiple benefits for the service provider when it comes to the service provisioning. On the other hand, this scenario is known to be rather complex during initial network deployment. ZTD with MPLS autoprovisioning helps to overcome these difficulties. While MPLS does not have the same plug-and-play type capabilities as Ethernet, and general automation of IP/MPLS networks can be difficult, the Junos OS includes support for a variety of automation tools as well as MPLS over IP-enabled unnumbered interfaces to help make this scenario possible.

Wholesale/leased line

In this scenario, a mobile service provider (MSP) leases connectivity services over third-party service provider’s Layer 2 metro Ethernet networks, or over Layer 3 private or public networks usually seen as part of the macro or small cell deployments.

With a small/femto cell use case, the ACX router acts as a gateway for the overall cell site infrastructure, which includes small/femto cells and LAN switches, to the mobile core network and to the OAM/NM systems of the MSP. A third-party, wholesale MBH network provides Layer 2 or Layer 3 connectivity between MSP cell sites and a centrally located mobile packet core. With regards to ZTD, there are two distinctive factors to be aware of:

  • The cell site typically cannot make an initial connection with the ZTD back-end system of the MSP, thus the typical autoinstallation process cannot be used. In this case, a basic configuration must be loaded onto the ACX router using a USB device, also known as the one touch deployment method. With the configuration committed on the ACX router, the device can then connect to the ZTD back-end system.

  • An untrusted, third-party infrastructure raises more security concerns than when the MSP owns the MBH infrastructure.

Figure 2 shows a typical location where an ACX router can be deployed in a wholesale environment.

Figure 2: ACX Router Deployment Locations
ACX Router Deployment