Juniper Networks is to help partners and customers develop applications that run on its routers and switches.

The company has announced a software development kit for JUNOS, its modular carrier-class operating system, which is based on FreeBSD. It said the kit, called PSDP (Partner Solution Development Platform), will enable developers to build specialised network applications such as event-optimised routing, customised bandwidth management and advanced security services.

The idea is to help customers develop and deploy new revenue-generating services, Juniper said. The development kit is part of a trend across the industry to embed more intelligence within the network - in the smart network vs dumb network argument, smart seems to be winning out after all.

The PSDP will be available on an annual licence through Juniper's Open IP Solution Development Programme, along with technical and business support. Juniper said that it had already signed up Aricent and Avaya as programme members.

Kim Perdikou, the executive VP and general manager of Juniper's infrastructure products group, said that the company wants to enlists its customers and partners to add innovation. He said it recognises that the requirements of the global networking market are now beyond the capabilities of any single vendor.

Juniper offers powerful routers and edge switches for the carrier market, and is understood to be entering the enterprise market next month with a range of 100Gig-ready LAN switches based around an ASIC codenamed Hurricane.

These too will run JUNOS, and while it's not yet known if they will support PSDP, it would make sense for them to do so as several other vendors already offer chassis switches capable of running third-party apps.