Juniper Employee , Juniper Employee Juniper Employee
The QFX5200 - a switch re-invented
Nov 3, 2015

The QFX5200 line of fixed-configuration top-of-rack (ToR) access switches, based on Broadcom’s StrataXGS Tomahawk chipset, includes both a 32-port 100GbE and a 64-port 40GbE model. The QFX5200 is also the first Juniper switch family to support the emerging 25/50GbE standards. Before getting into the advantages of 25GbE standard, let me first talk about what sets the QFX5200 apart from the other vendor offerings.


The QFX5200 is specifically designed for the cloud-era. It’s the first switch in the industry from a major networking vendor to offer complete disaggregation of hardware and software, as well as an open software platform for customers and partners to innovate on—just like the app store for the smartphone.


With the QFX5200, customers can for the first time purchase hardware and software separately; the new subscription-based pricing model lets customers leverage the software investment over time while replacing the hardware as needed. Featuring the disaggregated Junos software, the QFX5200 combines high-performance switching with the flexibility, power and functions of a quad-core server. Among other things, the disaggregated Junos software allows users to manage the switch like a server, letting customers install third-party applications, tools, and services in a VM or container directly on the switch.


All major networking vendors—including Juniper—plan to ship new 40/100GbE switches over the next couple of months based on the Broadcom Tomahawk silicon. There is literally no difference in speeds and feeds between the vendors’ various 32-port 100GbE switches—all of them are multi-speed platforms supporting 10GbE to 100GbE speeds, including the emerging 25 and 50GbE standards. Unlike our competitors, however, Juniper’s QFX5200-64Q 40GbE switch is also multi-speed capable. What that means is customers get a switch that is not only backward-compatible with 10GbE, but also one that offers the flexibility of 25GbE and 50GbE deployments as well as investment-protecting, future-proofing support for 100GbE. The table below shows the different port configurations supported by the various members of the QFX5200 switch family.





System throughput / forwarding capacity

Up to 3.2 Tbps / Up to 2.4 Bpps

QSFP+/QSFP28 ports

32 QSFP+ or QSFP28

64 QSFP+ or 32 QSFP28

Max 10GbE ports



Max 25GbE ports



Max 40GbE ports



Max 50GbE ports



Max 100GbE ports



(Broadcom Tomahawk Chipset has 128 SERDES, hence the total 10GbE/25GbE ports are limited to 128 in both versions)


Industry Experts are expecting rapid industry adoption of the 25GbE standard, driven initially by large web scale companies followed by enterprise customers who see major benefits in transitioning to 25GbE.


What’s really driving the demand for 25GbE? It’s the explosive growth of cloud applications, video and mobile traffic. The 10GbE sever access connectivity is getting saturated as customers add more workloads or VMs per server. What’s really working in favor of the 25GbE standard (among other things) are:

  • The 25GbE standard doesn't require a new cable infrastructure; it runs over the same 10GbE cable installation.
  • Prices for 25GbE optics will be on par or within a 10-15% premium over 10GbE optics, essentially giving customers 2.5 times the performance at roughly the same cost.
  • Compared to 40GbE, 25GbE is both more power efficient and cost effective.
  • Since it’s designed backward from 100GbE technology using 4x25GbE SERDES, it requires only 1x25GbE SERDES—just like the 10GbE.

A study by the IEEE 25GbE group shows that to build a 100,000 server data center, customers will need three times the number of ToR switches for 40GbE vs 25GbE:


100K Server DC

# of ToR Switches





(Based on single 128 interfaces, 3.2Tbps switch)


The QFX5200 switches with the disaggregated Junos software fit right into Juniper’s open, simple, and smart MetaFabric™ architecture, giving customers the flexibility they need to build a best-in-class public, private, or hybrid cloud data center—plus the investment protection they need to keep pace with rising demand while reducing cost.


Check out this youtube video on QFX5200


Read the blogs by Salman Zahid on how Juniper is well positioned to support the 25GbE standard and by Michael Pergament on simplifying the transition to 25/100GbE in data centers with the QFX5200.