A router is a network device used to forward packets from one network to another. These routers are configured by entering values to the internal routing tables, based on which the router forwards the packets to the desired destination. Factors that determine the line on which the packets will be forwarded are line cost, congestion and traffic load. The service provider edge routers are configured to forwards packets received from one service provider to the other. These routers are capable of handling wide range of protocols such as Border Gateway Protocols (BGP), Open Shortest Path First (OSPF) and Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS). These routers ensure that the service provider’s network is connected with internet, external network or a wide area network.
In order to provide connectivity between networks, the service provider edge router primarily need to follow Border Gateway Protocol (BGP). BGP is basically an exterior gateway protocol which is intended to exchange routing information between different autonomous systems on the internet network. BGP enables the router to decide the communication path based on the rules set-up by the network administrator and network policies. BGP is sometimes used for routing packets within an autonomous system. Such type of protocol is termed as Interior Border Gateway Protocol (IBGP). Conversely, for internet applications this protocol is referred as Exterior Border Gateway Protocol (EBGP).
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Primarily, the service provider edge router deploys an External Border Gateway Protocol (EBGP) that is widely employed over the Internet to ensure connectivity with the networks in the remote sites. The prime function of a service provider edge router is to provide communication between service provider’s network and the autonomous systems, and networks of other service providers.
The market for service provider edge router is driven by the rising number of internet subscription across the globe. Moreover, the major share of demand for internet subscription is from emerging countries of Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa and Latin America. Thus, the demand for expansion of network increases to provide highly available connectivity, which results in demand for edge routers in the network. In addition, the on-going deployment of high speed LTE networks across North America and Europe is further boosting the growth of the service provider edge router market.
Currently, the major challenge with the service providers is to balance video services, wireless services and cloud services. Owing to this challenge, the companies are offering edge routers that are capable of aggregating multiple IP networks into a single IP edge to provide video services, wireless services and cloud services. This provides tremendous growth opportunities for the existing players such Cisco Systems, Inc. and Juniper Networks, Inc. Moreover, the upcoming trend of transition from IPv4 to IPv6 is a potential opportunity for the new players to enter into the market.
The service provider edge router market is highly competitive with players such as Cisco Systems, Inc., Alcatel-Lucent S.A., Juniper Networks, Inc., Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., and ZTE Corporation dominating market. Cisco Systems, Inc. and juniper Networks, Inc. are the leading edge router providers competing in this market. These companies are continuously upgrading their existing edge routers to gain a competitive edge over other players in the market. However, Players such ZTE Corporation, Huawei technologies Co. Ltd. and other regional players are consistently expanding their business into this market and increasing the competitive rivalry in the market.