Companies whose frame relay connections are getting clogged up by email and Web surfing have been offered a route to the Internet that should lessen the load.
BT's international subsidiary Concert last week launched Internet PVC, a service that lets frame relay customers use a single port to access the Internet and Concert's managed frame relay network.
Concert claimed customers would be able to offload basic SMTP traffic, such as email and Web browsing to the Internet using their existing frame relay port, without installing a separate leased line.
However, customers are being advised to keep mission critical Internet activity, such as Web site maintenance, ecommerce, extranet and virtual private networking, on the more reliable frame relay networks.
"Until now, customers had to buy Internet separate from frame relay access. More and more customers' frame relay connections were becoming heavily loaded with Internet traffic," said Aaron McCormack, director of marketing, Concert managed data and Internet services.
Using frame relay for non time critical activity, such as email and Web surfing, is, "not a very efficient way of doing things."
The new service should speed up Web access for many users, according to McCormack. Companies with many international sites would traditionally have one Internet access point on the frame relay network - usually in the US.
A Web page request from Australia, for example, would first have to pass across the frame relay network to the US before even reaching the Internet, making Internet access sluggish.
"If they can cut the degree of personal and private use, that can cut telephone bills," said networking analyst James Bennett at CIT Research. "It's a wise decision to get rid of personal."
Customers will need firewalls at each location to protect their networks from the Internet. Concert says it can provide a firewall service through a deal with Checkpoint Software.
Mini firewalls at each location could amount to half the cost of maintaining one central firewall - which needs to be very robust. Concert said it expects the Internet PVC service to save customers between 15 per cent and 20 per cent, compared to maintaining a separate leased line, in the first year.
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