|Headquarters||Westford, MA, USA|
Unisphere Networks was a networking equipment manufacturer founded in 1998 and later acquired by Juniper Networks in June 2002 for $585 million, which includes $375 million in cash and 36.5 million shares. Unisphere was initially composed of three other Boston, MA, USA area based networking equipment manufacturers:
- Redstone Communications - Specialized in edge-routing and BRAS technology. Their flagship product, the ERX-series, competed against Cisco's 10000 and 7500 series routers as well as the Redback Networks SMS platform. The ERX was the main compelling reason why Juniper acquired Unisphere in 2002.
- Argon Networks - Specialized in core-routing technology meant to compete with Cisco's GSR and Juniper's M-series and T-series. The Argon product never made it out of R&D and the project was dropped with the acquisition by Juniper.
- Castle Networks - Specialized in voice-mediation. The Castle Networks trunking gateway was widely deployed in internet offload applications as well as an intelligent gateway.
As well, Unisphere included two organizations from Siemens Information Communication Networks:
- The Boca Raton, FL, USA based Internet Solutions Business unit whose softswitch design was based upon Siemens Reliable Telco Platform (RTP). This application allowed the softswitch to be installed on a cluster of Sun Solaris-based servers to increase uptime. While the technology was fairly successful and deployed in various fashions by different carriers across the US, voice mediation was never Juniper's core competency and therefore this technology was sold back to Siemens in June 2002.
- The Kanata, ON, Canada based Seimens Telecom Innovation Centre whose SDX-300 service and policy management products are known today as the Juniper SRC product line.
The genesis of Unisphere came through the ingenuity of the founder and CEO, James Dolce, who structured a deal with Siemens AG to fund and therefore hold a majority stake in Unisphere Solutions. It is rumored that Siemens spent about $1 billion for the acquisition of all three companies as well as an additional $250 million more over the 4 year life of Unisphere to keep operations going. It is not clear if Unisphere ever actually operated in the black and because the company never went public, the truth behind the numbers will likely remain a mystery. The name was changed from Unisphere Solutions to Unisphere Networks in late 2000 as the company prepared for a possible 2001 IPO but they were never quite able to execute upon this vision, likely due at least in part to the technology recession that began in April 2000.
The only surviving products from Unisphere are the ERX and SRC lines, still in production by Juniper, as well as the SRX-3000 now called the hiQ 8000 which is now sold as part of Nokia Siemens Networks next generation portfolio.
- "Juniper Networks Branches Out". Forbes.com. 2002-05-20. Retrieved 2009-03-05.
- "Juniper Networks Completes Acquisition of Siemens' Unisphere Networks Subsidiary". Juniper Press release. July 2, 2002. Retrieved 2009-03-05.