Is Google building its own router?

The rumor came earlier this week, but is there any truth to it? Probably, but with a caveat, says analyst Jon Oltsik.

Jon Oltsik
Jon Oltsik is a senior analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group. He is not an employee of CNET.
Jon Oltsik
2 min read

This may be nothing but blogosphere blah-blah-blah, but a colleague sent me a note Thursday stating that Juniper Networks' share price fell earlier this week because of a rumor that its customer Google is actually building its own router.

This Google news was attributed to multiple sources including at least one within Cisco Systems, according to a story Monday on SDTimes. CNET News sister site BNET contacted Google about the rumor: "The answer was the now-standard 'It's our policy not to comment on rumor or speculation.'"

OK, so my guess is that this rumor is probably true--with a caveat. Remember that routers are simply purpose-built computers for routing packets. Microsoft had a similar project in the 1990s called Steelhead that used Windows as the routing operating system. My old friend Roy Chua is working with a Silicon Valley company named XORP, which stands for "extensible open source routing platform." Nothing new here.

My guess is that some of the smart guys over at Google are tinkering around with XORP or something similar just as they have for back-end storage. On the other hand, I can't imagine that Google is trying to build a router comparable to the Juniper J or M series systems as these are the latest generation of Juniper routing platforms with thousands of development hours behind them. Juniper isn't a leading provider in this market for nothing.

On the off chance that Google is actually undertaking a project like this, I have a bit of advice to Google shareholders: sell your stock. Google employs some of the smartest computer scientists around, but if this is true, you have to question the company's business focus. What's next? Google building its own powerplants? A Google department of defense? A Google space shuttle?