Terabit Systems is an Independent Reseller, not affiliated with Juniper Networks

We’ve previously talked at length about the importance of pulling the trigger on an after-market router that can not only handle the demands of today’s intricate networks and data centers, but also the data Gold Rush of the not-so-distant future.

And, like clockwork, the Juniper MX Series — one of our perennial favorites due to its wide range of upgrade and cloud options for networks and data centers of various sizes — has surfaced in our discussions.

But just because we’ve highlighted the heck out of the series (hey, even the entry levels are pretty great) during the past year, that doesn’t mean there aren’t others that deserve to be routed into the discussion of “what to buy next”.

Today we’ll take a closer look into Cisco’s Aggregation Services Routers, commonly known as the ASR line, and how they stack up against those in the Juniper MX series.

Both companies’ flagship routers deliver great speed, reliability and expansion/customization, but do have a few notable differences — or preferences — that are worth reviewing.

Modulation Formulation

Although the Cisco ASR and Juniper MX series routers are built around modular-based flexibility, their configuration similarities essentially end right there.

Cisco ASR routers allow line cards with connection ports to be inserted directly into the chassis. Some Juniper MX routers require the insertion of a modular port concentrator (MPC) into the chassis, with modular interface cards (MIC) providing said ports.

Also, Cisco ASR only supports Cisco’s proprietary CPAK modular transceiver hardware. In contrast, Juniper MX can be used with numerous optical transceiver form factors that can deliver up to 100 Gbps Ethernet speeds. It’s also worth noting that Cisco’s optical transceiver is larger than Juniper’s, providing more channel configurations but using more power.

Closely Contested

Cisco has traditionally been the more expensive brand of the two. In terms of performance, however, Juniper MX routers either offer similar specs or a preferential trade-off to Cisco ASR routers — with both providing a good selection in terms of size. For a miniature 1 RU router, the Cisco ASR-1001x gives you 4 more ports than the enterprise-popular Juniper MX80, but has less bandwidth capacity. If you’re looking for more density, the recently introduced MX204 — surprisingly just a 1RU router — boasts speeds up to 400 Gbps and is packed with features (that will one day support the company’s Self-Driving Network) typically found in the bigger boys.

As for the mid-sized routers, Juniper’s MX480 — which sports just 8 RUs — can pull an incredible 9 Tbps through its silicon veins. Maybe almost as impressive in size and performance is the heavyweight — or maybe not so heavyweight — Cisco ASR-9006. With 10 RU, the router weighs less than 150 lbs and gives you 7 Tbps of bandwidth capacity.




Rack Units (RU)

Max Speed

Weight Loaded

Juniper MX80

4 ports


80 Gbps

30 lbs

Cisco ASR-1001X

8 ports


2.5-20 Gbps

25 lbs

Juniper MX480

6 slots


9 Tbps

180 lbs

Cisco ASR-1006

12 ports


100 Gbps

99 lbs

Juniper MX960

11 MPC slots


12 Tbps

334 lbs

Cisco ASR-9006

4 line cards and 2 RSPs


7 Tbps

150 lbs


The Time to Buy Juniper MX and Cisco ASR Routers is Now

Router sales are expected to bounce back significantly in 2020 with the rollout of new 5G and cloud technology.

What does that mean for you? Well, if you’re in the market to upgrade, it could mean a lot in terms of how fast after-market routers will move off the shelf. With that said, finding the golden ticket to your enterprise or small-market network or data center’s future shouldn’t be a stressful venture.

Terabit Systems carries Juniper MX80, MX240, MX480, and MX960 routers and also sells the Cisco ASR 9001, 9004, 9006 and ASR 1001-X, ASR 1004 and 1006.

Let the Experts at Terabit Systems Help

Investing in the right equipment means investing in not only a company’s service and dependability, but also its ability to keep up with the latest demands, trends, and technology. Terabit Systems has years of experience with Juniper MX and Cisco ASR routers, as well as other Juniper and Cisco products, providing quality refurbished networking equipment--as well as industry-leading customer service--to clients worldwide.

Check out our selection of routers and so much more. Email us or call +1 (415) 230-4353 to speak to a Terabit representative for a quote today.