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MPC4 vs MPC5 vs MPC7 Comparison

If you are looking to buy Juniper MX line cards, you’ll want to know the difference between the MPC4 vs MPC5 vs MPC7. To help, we’ve broken down the similarities and differences of these popular Juniper MPC cards. We’ve also included Juniper MPC features for each device, including compatibility standards.

What are Juniper line cards?

Juniper line cards are the devices that ultimately determine the port configurations within a modular chassis. Different line card models support different port configurations — number of ports, supported Ethernet speeds, etc. — allowing you to configure modular devices to fit specific networking needs.

As Juniper’s lineup of modular hardware has evolved, new line cards have been introduced. Its MPC4, MPC5, and MPC7 line cards are all considered modular port concentrators, or MPCs.

MIC vs MPC Cards

Juniper MPCs are the line cards used in one of its most popular lineup of routers: the MX Series, namely the MX240, the MX480, the MX960, and the MX2008, MX2010, and the MX2020.

There are technically two Juniper MX MPC types: fixed-configuration and modular configuration. Fixed-configuration MPCs have set ports, whereas modular MPCs require Modular Interface Cards (MICs), which each have different port configurations, allowing you more flexibility over your configurations.

Each MPC supports two MICs, and each MIC is hot-swappable, meaning they can easily be switched out with other MICs — so long as an MIC and an MPC are compatible with one another.

Juniper MX MPC Port Configurations for Fixed-configuration Line Cards

The MPC4, MPC5, and MPC7 are just three of several MPC cards from Juniper. They are the only three fixed-configuration MPCs. All other MPCs are modular — i.e. they require MICs. All three devices have multiple models, and between them there are 10G, 40G, 100G Ethernet solutions.

The maximum number of supported MPCs on MX Series modular chassis varies significantly; the number of MPC slots is ultimately determined by the size of the chassis.

Below are the number of MPCs support on each MX Series modular chassis:

Below are the port configurations for each MPC4 vs MPC5 vs MPC7 model.

MPC4 Juniper Line Card Port Configurations

Juniper's MPC4E-3D-32XGE-SFPP, a fixed-configuration MPC for Juniper MX Series routers.

The Juniper MPC4 is supported by the following products:

  • MX240
  • MX480
  • MX960
  • MX2008
  • MX2010
  • MX2020

MPC4Es support both CFP and SFP transceivers. You can choose from the following two models:

The Juniper MX480 router allows for only five of the six MPC slots to be used with the MPC4Es.

Additionally, the MX960 router allows for only ten of its 11 MPC slots to be populated with MPC4Es. These limitations are a result of power restrictions. With that said, you can provide maximum capacity by adjusting ambient temperatures to 25 to 40 degrees Celsius if you want to use all of the available slots.

MPC5 Juniper Line Card Port Configurations

Juniper's MPC5E-100G10G, a fixed-configuration MPC for Juniper MX Series routers.

The MPC5Es are supported on the following router models:

  • MX240
  • MX480
  • MX960
  • MX2008
  • MX2010
  • MX2020

There are four Juniper MPC5 models, and all of them support both SFP and QSFP+ optical transceivers.

Below are the specifications for all four models:

  • MPC5E-40G10G: includes 6 built-in 40G Ethernet ports, plus 24 built-in 10G ports
  • MPC5EQ-40G10G: includes 6 built-in 40G Ethernet ports, plus 24 built-in 10G ports
  • MPC5E-100G10G: includes 2 built-in 100G Ethernet ports, plus 4 built-in 10G ports
  • MPC5EQ-100G10G: includes 2 built-in 100G Ethernet ports, plus 4 built-in 10G ports

If you choose to use the MPC5E cards with the MX2020, MX2010, or MX2008 modular chassis, you’ll need to plug them into adapter cards (ADCs). Talk to a specialist if you need more help with ADCs.

MPC7 Juniper Line Card Port Configurations

The MPC7E-MRATE line card (Used Network Equipment from BrightStar Systems)

There are two Juniper MPC7E models to choose from: the MPC7E-10G and the MPC7E-MRATE.

These line cards are supported by the following routers:

  • MX240
  • MX480
  • MX960
  • MX2008
  • MX2010
  • MX2020

The specifications for the two MPC7E models are as follows:

  • MPC7E-10G: includes 40 built-in SFP+ ports supporting 10G Ethernet
  • MPC7E-MRATE: includes 12 built-in QSFP+ ports supporting up to 40G Ethernet with four ports supporting up to 100G Ethernet that are also compatible with QSFP28 transceivers

Ethernet speed is the biggest difference between these two line cards. The MPC7E-10G is a 10G Ethernet line card, while the MPC7E-MRATE is considered a Juniper 100G line card. The latter also provides more flexibility because it’s a multi-rate MPC. Each of the 12 ports is configurable for 10G or 40G Ethernet capabilities. If you use four of the 100G ports, you can still utilize the other eight as 10G or 40G ports.

When used with the MX2008, MX2010, or MX2020, the MPC7E-10G needs to be plugged into an ADC.

Similarities Between the MPC4, MPC5, and MPC7

There are a few ways in which the MPC4, MPC5, MPC7 are the same. The first — and perhaps the most important — is that these devices share the same Juniper MX MPC compatibility standards. In other words, all three devices work with MX204, MX480, MX960, MX2008, MX2010, and MX2020 devices.

In addition — and as was mentioned earlier — all three MPCs are designed as fixed-configuration devices. However, the specifications vary considerably, and that’s really where the differences come in.

Differences Between the MPC4, MPC5, and MPC7

Whether you are comparing the MPC4 vs MPC5, the MPC4 vs MPC7 or the MPC5 vs MPC7, there are quite a few differences outside the port configurations and supported Ethernet speeds to be aware of.

First off, the overall throughput varies significantly between the three devices. The throughput on the MPC4E line cards is 240 Gbps, but the MPC4E-3D-2CGE-8XGE can only be used on MX240, MX480, and MX960 routers equipped with high-capacity power supplies and high-capacity fan trays.

The throughput on the MPC5E models is 240 Gbps and the throughput on the MPC7E models varies depending on the router. The MPC7E-10G has a maximum capacity of 400 Gbps and the MPC7E-MRATE has a maximum capacity of 480 Gbps on MX240, MX480, and MX960 devices, but only 400 Gbps on MX2008, MX2010, and MX2020 devices, with the ability to increase to 430 Gbps by equipping an SFB2.

Another difference to note is that MPC5E line cards support enhanced switch control boards, including the MX-SCBE and the MX-SCBE2, on MX240, MX480, and MX960 routers. It does not support the legacy switch control board, the MX-SCB. In a similar vein, the MPC7E-MRATE doesn’t just support, but requires, the use of the MX-SCBE2 or the MX-SCBE3, on MX240, MX480, and MX960 devices.

There is also a specific feature called Hierarchical Quality of Service (HQoS), which prioritizes the service delivery based on factors like VLAN, physical ports, users, and application, that’s only supported on MPC5 and MPC7 line cards. The MPC4E line card models do not support HQoS.

The MPC5EQ-100G10G and MPC5EQ-40G10G models come with HQoS, but you can also add HQoS to the MPC5E-40G10G and MPC5E-100G10G models with an add-on license. The MPC7E-MRATE also includes HQoS, and the MPC7E-10G can be upgraded with HQoS with an add-on license.

Work With a Juniper MPC Expert

If you’re trying to choose between the Juniper MPC4 vs MPC5 vs MPC7, it’s important to look closely at the specifications of each and every model. If you’re still not sure, the specialists at BrightStar Systems can also help you determine which Juniper line card models are right for your network.

We also buy your used Juniper equipment, including MPC4, MPC5, and MPC7 devices. We even pay for the shipping and we test the equipment for you. Whatever you make can go toward purchasing replacement MPCs or any other used Juniper networking equipment you may need.

It’s our goal to provide the best networking hardware at the lowest prices, along with best-in-class sales support. We fulfill that by offering great prices that will help reduce your bottom line. Contact us today if you are ready to move forward with expanding or enhancing your Juniper network.