Virtual private networks are very prominent at Networld+Interop in Las Vegas this week, with many vendors showing products based on the emerging IPSec standard.
IPSec allows a secure IP 'tunnel' to be created between two local area networks, or between a network and a remote user, over the Internet.
VPNs are being used increasingly to save on Wan costs, or to eliminate the need for remote access servers.
Ascend Communications announced a series of products and services, aimed at making virtual private networking more manageable and allowing service providers to offer service level contracts. The different offerings are grouped together in what the company is calling its MultiVPN strategy.
Two new software packages in Ascend?s Navis product line are set to ship in June. Navis Customer Network Management (CNM) Gateway gives corporate customers information about and control over their VPN from a desktop PC. They can access real time and historical usage statistics and assign different levels of privileges to users. Service providers can also allow corporate customers to change operational parameters of their VPN in this way.
The software will work with VPNs running over IP, ATM or Frame Relay backbones based on Ascend hardware, as well as on the company?s remote access products. Pricing starts at $10,000.
The second package, Navis Service Level Agreement Reports, gives service providers a tool to offer feedback on the quality of the VPN service. The software produces graphs of network performance, and measures those against the levels agreed in a service level contract. It is priced at $2,000.
VPN Routing is a new feature that is being incorporated into Ascend?s IP Navigator software. It will allow providers to offer VPN products with guaranteed quality of service (QoS), the company claims. VPN Routing adds VPN functionality to IP Navigator, which is an implementation of the emerging Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) standard from the Internet Engineering Task Force. IP Navigator with the VPN Routing feature added will ship in August.
Many other vendors are rolling out VPN products and strategies at N+I this week.
Timestep introduced Permit/Connect, an IPSec compliant remote access VPN solution with integrated public key encryption infrastructure. The company claims this integration simplifies management. It provides all the components needed to allow secure client connections to a corporate network over the Internet.
These components include a two-port Ethernet gateway, a client application for Windows 95 and NT, a configuration utility and, optionally, the Entrust Public Key Infrastructure from Entrust Technologies. Permit/connect for 100 users is priced at $7,995.
Snare Networks released Snarenet VPN, software that installs on network servers to create a VPN. The company claims that, by extending the VPN to the servers, rather than ending at the firewall, security is enhanced.
Indus River Networks announced what it calls a ?performance enhanced? implementation of IPSec for its Riverworks remote access VPN product. Indus River claims it combines IPSec with compression to speed up the connection.
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