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Juniper® Cloud-Native Router Overview


While 5G unleashes higher bandwidth, lower latency and higher capacity, it also brings in new infrastructure challenges such as increased number of base stations or cell sites, more backhaul links with larger capacity and more cell site routers and aggregation routers. Service providers are integrating cloud-native infrastructure in distributed RAN (D-RAN) topologies, which are usually small, leased spaces, with limited power, space and cooling. The disaggregation of radio access network (RAN) and the expansion of 5G data centers into cloud hyperscalers has added newer requirements for cloud-native routing.

The Juniper Cloud-Native Router provides the service providers the flexibility to roll out the expansion requirements for 5G rollouts, reducing both the CapEx and OpEx.

Juniper Cloud-Native Router (JCNR) is a containerized router that combines Juniper's proven routing technology with the Junos® containerized routing protocol daemon (cRPD) as the controller and a high-performance Contrail® Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK) vRouter forwarding plane. It is implemented in Kubernetes and interacts seemlessly with a Kubernetes container network (CNI) framework.

Use Cases

The Cloud-Native Router has the following use cases:

  • Radio Access Network (RAN)

    The new 5G-only sites are a mix of centralized RAN (C-RAN) and distributed RAN (D-RAN). The C-RAN sites are typically large sites owned by the carrier and continue to deploy physical routers. The D-RAN sites, on the other hand, are tens of thousands of smaller sites, closer to the users. Optimization of CapEx and OpEx is a huge factor for the large number of D-RAN sites. These sites are also typically leased, with limited space, power and cooling capacities. There is limited connectivity over leased lines for transit back to the mobile core. Juniper Cloud-Native Router is designed to work in the constraints of a D-RAN. It is integrated with the distributed unit (DU) and installable on an existing 1 U server.

  • Telco virtual private cloud (VPC)

    The 5G data centers are expanding into cloud hyperscalers to support more radio sites. The cloud-native routing available in public cloud environments do not support the routing demands of telco VPCs, such as MPLS, quality of service (QoS), L3 VPN, and more. The Juniper Cloud-Native Router integrates directly into the cloud as a containerized network function (CNF), managed as a cloud-native Kubernetes component, while providing advanced routing capabilities.

Architecture and Key Components

The Juniper Cloud-Native Router consists of the Junos containerized routing protocol Daemon (cRPD) as the control plane (JCNR Controller), providing topology discovery, route advertisement and forwarding information base (FIB) programming, as well as dynamic underlays and overlays. It uses the Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK) enabled vRouter as a forwarding plane, providing packet forwarding for DPDK applications in a pod and host path I/O for protocol sessions. The third component is the JCNR container network interface (CNI) that interacts with Kubernetes as a secondary CNI to create pod interfaces, assign addresses and generate the cRPD configuration.

The Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK) is an open source set of libraries and drivers. DPDK enables fast packet processing by allowing network interface cards (NICs) to send direct memory access (DMA) packets directly into an application’s address space. The applications poll for packets, to avoid the overhead of interrupts from the NIC. Integrating with DPDK allows a vRouter to process more packets per second than is possible when the vRouter runs as a kernel module.

In this integrated solution, the JCNR Controller uses gRPC, a high performance Remote Procedure Call, based services to exchange messages and to communicate with the vRouter, thus creating the fully functional Cloud-Native Router. This close communication allows you to:

  • Learn about fabric and workload interfaces

  • Provision DPDK- or kernel-based interfaces for Kubernetes pods as needed

  • Configure IPv4 and IPv6 address allocation for Pods

  • Install routes into routing tables

  • Run routing protocols such as ISIS, BGP, and OSPF


  • Easy deployment, removal, and upgrade on general purpose compute devices using Helm

  • Higher packet forwarding performance with DPDK-based JCNR-vRouter

  • Full routing, switching, and forwarding stacks in software

  • Basic L2 functionality, such as MAC learning, MAC aging, MAC limiting, and L2 statistics

  • L2 reachability to Radio Units (RU) for management traffic

  • L2 or L3 reachability to physical distributed units (DU) such as 5G millimeter wave DUs or 4G DUs

  • VLAN tagging

  • Bridge domains

  • Trunk and access ports

  • Support for multiple virtual functions (VF) on Ethernet NICs

  • Support for bonded VF interfaces

  • Configurable L2 access control lists (ACLs)

  • Rate limiting of egress broadcast, unknown unicast, and multicast traffic on fabric interfaces

  • IPv4 and IPv6 routing

  • Out-of-the-box software-based open radio access network (O-RAN) support

  • Quick spin up with containerized deployment

  • Highly scalable solution