Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

CTO Raj Yavatkar discusses 'pathfinding' strategy to turn ideas into networking reality.

Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading
Still image of Phil Harvey from Light Reading sitting down waring a blazer and collared shirt looking off to the left.  Blurry behind him is a conference exhibition scene with people walking in the background.

5G/6G, Quantum security, sustainability and widespread AI and ML use are all on the whiteboard at Juniper Beyond Labs.

Phil Harvey of Light Reading sat down with Juniper Networks Chief Technology Officer Raj Yavatkar to discuss Juniper Beyond Labs, a new global initiative within Juniper to work with customers, partners, academia and others to solve some of the toughest technology and networking challenges.

See the original Light Reading article

Show more

You’ll learn

  • Though Juniper is a networking company, Raj wants the network to get out of the way of users, and, in this sense, the pursuit of simplicity is one of his greatest challenges yet.

  • Juniper Beyond Labs is working on 5G and 6G research as well as looking at uses of AI, automation, network operations including new arenas like quantum computing and security.

  • Juniper Beyond Labs is working on advanced network security based on the fundamental laws of quantum physics. This research uses Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) and Post Quantum Cryptography (PQC) through collaboration with QuTech and Eurofiber.

Who is this for?

Network Professionals Business Leaders


Phil Harvey Headshot
Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

Guest speakers

Raj Yavatkar, CTO, Juniper Networks


0:00 foreign

0:01 [Applause]

0:05 G Event in Austin Texas I'm Phil Harvey

0:09 editor at Light reading and joining me

0:11 is rajkar from Juniper Networks Raj

0:15 thanks so much for making the time for

0:16 us well thank you Finn great to see you

0:18 again and uh I'm uh excited to talk

0:22 about Juniper's announcement of a new uh

0:26 lab new lab environment so tell me a

0:29 little bit about uh uh Beyond labs and

0:32 and first of all what it is and then

0:35 maybe who it's for sure so I think uh

0:38 Jennifer if you know that we always

0:40 Innovative in routing and started out as

0:43 a Telco company but now we have expanded

0:45 a lot to Data Center Enterprises and

0:48 part of my um agenda initiative at

0:51 Juniper is to also invest in Innovative

0:54 stuff exploration of energy ideas beyond

0:57 the roadmap so beyond Labs is the

1:00 initiative which really is both physical

1:02 labs in Sunnyvale Westford Mass as well

1:06 as Bangalore okay

1:07 to host Innovative projects which are

1:10 independent of the product roadmap but

1:12 allow us to explore new ideas new

1:15 Concepts working ourselves working with

1:17 Partners working with Academia and so on

1:20 and Customs okay so yeah the so the the

1:22 the who's at four is a great uh question

1:26 then because it's it's really it's for

1:29 Juniper for the industry but it doesn't

1:32 sound like you've got it locked in it's

1:34 not just a customer focused lab it's

1:36 really about the exploration of ideas

1:38 overall yeah with the hope I guess that

1:40 those lead to some products something

1:43 commercial down the road

1:45 um but yeah it's interesting to start

1:47 out with such a broad uh uh you know

1:50 canvas I guess

1:52 um in this you know I guess the next

1:55 logical question then would be about the

1:57 timing well why now that's that's a very

2:00 good question so I think one of the

2:01 things I realized that I've been at

2:03 Juniper number three years

2:04 I started initially internally an

2:07 initiative called pathfinding which

2:09 allows you to collect ideas from

2:11 anywhere in the company sales marketing

2:13 Engineers product management and we

2:17 started looking at those ideas and

2:19 create pathfinding projects to explore

2:21 those ideas to see whether there's a

2:22 business value or not customer value or

2:24 not so I wanted to formalize that

2:26 especially as we started partnering with

2:28 outside Academia companies like Intel

2:31 and Dell and some customers our

2:33 customers have Innovation Labs there is

2:36 very good at Synergy for them to come in

2:38 and also explore with us so formalizing

2:40 this as an initiative helps us do this

2:42 oh that's great yeah because I I've

2:44 noticed about you know various corporate

2:47 Labs you know have have it means

2:49 different things depending on the

2:51 company you know most of the time it

2:52 does mean you know testing for uh

2:55 immediate product sets or maybe new Next

2:57 Generation product sets and their

2:59 customers or their Partners

3:01 um this sounds like it has

3:03 some of that but also a much kind of

3:07 broader scope in terms of where the

3:10 ideas could come from exactly ideas

3:11 could come from where they could go The

3:13 Innovation sometimes could lead to maybe

3:16 only Publications or patterns but not

3:17 actual commercials that's why I spent

3:19 time at Intel where I founded a lab

3:22 called systems Architecture Lab for it

3:23 it was exactly similar to that it's

3:26 about 200 people exploring completely

3:28 new technology starting from thermal

3:30 cooling all the way to mobile sensors

3:34 and so on many of those are not going to

3:36 result in products necessarily but it

3:38 allows our customers our partners to

3:40 also become more successful right a

3:43 similar idea here okay now this is a

3:46 question perfect for you because you've

3:48 been in the industry a while and you may

3:50 remember some of the changes that have

3:52 happened here but I want to get you to

3:54 comment on the state of r d and the

3:55 industry generally because it sort of it

3:59 seemed like over a period of 20 years it

4:00 got pushed from the service providers

4:02 they sort of pushed it out to the

4:04 equipment vendors as equipment vendors

4:06 Consolidated and and you know kind of

4:09 streamline their operations especially

4:11 the larger ones

4:13 some of that r d got the capability got

4:15 lost you know not that it's not there

4:17 but that it's not uh the same proportion

4:21 of spending and resources that it used

4:23 to be how do you see that sort of uh

4:27 changing as

4:29 the technologies that we're using become

4:32 you know more complex and then involve a

4:35 lot more companies to pull it off that's

4:38 right so I think there are two things

4:39 right one is that you're right corporate

4:41 RND functions cannot be simply looking

4:43 Inward and at the narrow lens of what

4:47 the company needs you have to look at

4:48 the larger ecosystem one thing at

4:50 Juniper we have done we are expanding we

4:52 are expanding to Enterprise and data

4:54 centers we actually have software

4:55 products which are Cloud powered like

4:58 SAS application we have our missed Wi-Fi

5:00 solution purely machine learning based

5:02 doing self-driving networks when you do

5:05 that kind of exploration the r d changes

5:07 it's no longer coming from customer

5:10 gives me requirement this is my roadmap

5:12 now you have to look at a broader

5:14 spectrum and say how can I take

5:16 advantage of Explorations happening

5:17 we'll give you one example uh we are

5:20 doing a project with a company startup

5:22 in UK and a British government to apply

5:24 Quantum Computing to Quantum key

5:26 distribution

5:29 as long as we talked about computer

5:31 security we're talking about the man in

5:33 the middle uh attack right key

5:35 distribution we found out this company

5:37 has a very cool technology applicable

5:39 today it doesn't require too many qubits

5:42 but I'll use the quantum Computing for

5:44 key distribution in a way you cannot

5:46 compromise it it's almost like a Star

5:48 Trek we've been looking at you know how

5:51 you regenerate the thing it's doing the

5:53 similar thing so that's an example of a

5:55 project like that we can explore right

5:57 this kind of mix yeah that makes sense

5:59 yeah especially because the yeah the

6:01 security Quantum security is going to

6:03 become of a much louder technology in

6:06 the next few years because of the uh you

6:09 know the information traversing our

6:11 networks and how we need to you know

6:13 stay ahead of uh of of possible attacks

6:16 and things like that so so interesting

6:18 that that's that's being looked at as

6:19 well uh what do you think is you know

6:22 what are what are some of the other uh

6:24 uh areas of interest that that you have

6:27 for this I mean not putting you on the

6:31 spot to to say a commitment to anything

6:33 but just areas you might be exploring so

6:35 I think one of the biggest areas I hear

6:37 from customers especially Enterprise

6:38 customers also complexity

6:40 networking has become more important and

6:43 now you have people using networks in

6:46 the cloud on-prem and in between so in

6:49 this hybrid multi-cloud world the skill

6:51 sets are not there right complexity is

6:53 there so one of the biggest area is to

6:55 how do we simplify that

6:57 apply machine learning AI techniques

6:59 other things so that you can make it

7:01 simpler to automation so that's one area

7:03 which is very Broad and open-ended the

7:06 second one which we already went public

7:07 with we have been trying to do some new

7:10 groundbreaking work with Cloud native

7:12 router for cloud networking because

7:13 people use cloud

7:15 IP networking and cloud is very simple

7:17 but when you take classical Telco

7:20 applications to the public Cloud unit

7:23 carrier grade Network that doesn't exist

7:24 how do you provide that okay we are also

7:27 very active in orac to create research

7:30 which has got Awards in mwc and all so

7:33 those are some of the areas we're going

7:34 to look which are more Greenfield more

7:37 open-ended but I think they have a

7:39 purpose they have a goal in mind that

7:41 how do we really automate the network

7:43 get the network out of the way that's

7:45 the really the goal right yeah

7:47 interesting yeah and uh so uh

7:50 I had it how mad are you gonna get if we

7:54 keep calling Juniper a router company

7:56 can we we have to we have to change our

7:59 uh change how we how we refer to you

8:01 guys now we are very proud We Are rooted

8:03 in the router company so we are not

8:04 going to give up that DNA but at the

8:06 same time as we expect meet uh

8:09 Enterprise uh you might be surprised to

8:11 know

8:12 four of the fortune 10 companies use our

8:14 Wi-Fi products they expanded that to his

8:16 Divine and campus Branch so we are

8:18 really showing that sort of that so I do

8:20 believe that networking is ubiquitous

8:22 and as a networking company I like to

8:25 use two adjectives secure and assured we

8:28 want to provide that across the Spectrum

8:30 I want to be known for that but we're

8:32 not forgetting that we are started as an

8:34 outer where you came from okay well

8:35 thanks uh thanks so much for uh for for

8:37 your time today and good luck with

8:39 Beyond Labs thank you

Show more