Juniper Ethernet Switches Review

An impeccable solution that services any size business and competes with the biggest brand names

What is our primary use case?

A lot of our deployments are hybrid cloud that we do for clients. We are personally using an on-premises installation.  

Our clients' use cases for Juniper Ethernet Switches are pretty broad as far as the industries covered. There are clients that are urgent care facilities, physician's offices, legal offices, restaurants — it really runs across the boards as far as industries. The USDA has a number of Juniper switches that we put in for them.  

What is most valuable?

When you are doing switching for anybody — it could be Motorola or Sprint or a restaurant that is relatively small and has 45 employees — it does not matter. They all have the same PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance needs. If they are in the medical industry in urgent care — like Duke Medical System or just a freestanding office — they all still have the same HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliance. When we are configuring switches, we are not only looking at port density in terms of the number of devices that are hooking to it. We are also looking at the VLAN (Virtual Local Area Network) configurations and a number of other things. Whether you are dealing with multilink, VLANs, being able to specifically control certain ports, control certain applications, or whatever, you are using almost every feature to some degree on every switch because the utility is valuable.  

One of the nicest things about Juniper switches is they work well with other vendor products. When you have to go into a situation where other vendor switches are present, you can make it work.  

What needs improvement?

Whether you are a Fortune 500 company or a small operation, you might have the same requirements for security features. There are security features related to Mac addresses that are present and high-end switches that lack some of the same flexibility in the lower-end switches. We may be talking about the difference between an EX2300 and an EX5500 model switch. It is the same manufacturer. It would be nice to have more of that security relevance in every level switch, regardless of the price tag or the model. It is just like the fact that you have the VLAN capability on all of them. I think the security features should generally be more available instead of scaled up and down with the product.  

Going into the future, you will probably see more fully meshed networks that have multiple internet-facing routes. These should go in an SD-WAN on a fiber-based VLAN. You may have coax services like Spectrum or Cox Cable providing internet avenues. Or you may also have a 4G or 5G modem doing the same thing in providing additional connection avenues. In the end, I think that the switching on that type of architecture and the routing needs to get a little more intuitive.  

Obviously, you can take care of the situation with routing tables and other methods. I think we are going to need to start seeing some kind of AI to assist with some of what we really want to accomplish from a policy standpoint to achieve better efficiency.  

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Juniper switches for probably a little over 15 years.  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I love the stability of Juniper. I look for stability in this type of product. When I have to put my hands on something repeatedly because of problems — endemic or quasi failures, where the OS just kind of locks up and stops performing — I call them insanity failures. I rarely see that in Juniper or WatchGuard or any of those guys. I like that and that is why I lean toward using those products.  

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Is there an end to the ability to scale Juniper? If there is, I have never seen it and I would know because I do data center design. Before I did what I am doing now, I was a director of new technology for Sprint PCS. We equipped to handle a lot of routing and I do not know if there is a scalability issue in the end.  

Our clients are a mix of industries that are small, medium, or large businesses. This product can service all of them. The scalability is really very good. 

How are customer service and technical support?

You always end up using technical support here and there for something. I would give them a pretty high rating. Some of that technical support I reached out for has been in design implementation. I think once we did have a DOA (Dead On Arrival) switch. But things like that are rare and Juniper is very responsive. They are always pretty responsive. Overall it is a good company.  

I would give the technical support a nine. I do not know if there is any company that I know of whose technical support would rate as a ten-of-ten. I am saying they are a nine, but there really is nothing lacking compared to the competition.  

How was the initial setup?

The installation of Juniper switches is pretty much straightforward.  

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Juniper is less expensive than competing products and as much as 33% less than Cisco.  

What other advice do I have?

Whether you are on the lower end of the business scale with a smaller portfolio, or whether you are a Fortune 500 or 1000 company, you can not go wrong with Juniper's back-end products. It is a cost-effective solution in comparison to the competition. I do not like to have to touch switches or routers or anything of that nature unless I am doing a new configuration or a firmware upgrade. The Juniper product helps me with that by having impeccable reliability.  

Saying that this solution is impeccable could be the entirety of my review.  

I have been a network architect for a long time. At one time in my career, I thought Nortel and Juniper were on par. They were the two best-engineered equipment supplier manufacturers out there from both a cost and performance standpoint. I had never been a big Cisco fan. The number one reason behind that is the per-port cost for Cisco is 30% higher than everybody else. Number two, they have too many proprietary protocols that are not friendly with what other technicians know. That is particularly true on their routers. I found that in practice, we had to reboot the Cisco products in enterprise and Fortune 500 company levels too many times. When you had 400 and 500 sites out there and you had to rebuild the routing tables, you were screwed. We did not ever have that same problem with Nortel or Juniper.  

So I got a bad taste in my mouth from Cisco many years ago. I spend a lot of time in cybersecurity and I find the Cisco IOS is one of the most vulnerable and most often patched by comparison to other high-end vendors, like Juniper. I have very few problems with Juniper products and they are easy to configure. They do a good job and they just continue doing it for a long time.  

On a scale from one to ten (where one is the worst and ten is the best), I would rate this product as a ten overall for where they are in technology, their solid engineering, and the product. That includes the software and the hardware.  

Even the lack of a few features is not a point to knock them down to a nine because we are on a road where we are taking a trip. I do not care what the literature says, SD-WAN is still new. We are still pushing the envelope on how we want to use it and how we want to design our systems to work with it. I can not mark Juniper down for being on the cutting edge of innovation.  

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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