Asante answers with new VPN offerings

Asante Technologies Inc. recently announced the FriendlyNET VR2004 series of virtual private networks (VPN) security routers, a wired and wireless VPN solution designed for businesses that need complete control over all data within the network. Instead of using dial-up modems to provide remote access to central information, VPN provides a high-speed, low-cost alternative to traditional remote access servers (RAS), according to the San Jose-based company.

Asante product manager William Hang said the FriendlyNET VR2004 Series of routers target small businesses and remote offices of large corporations. Hang added the products are a high-speed alternative to traditional remote access servers (RAS) and provide a secure, redundant communications link (v.90/v.92 analog or ISDN) between corporate networks and remote offices.

As no special client software or configurations are required to set up the VR2004 “it can act like a VPN server or VPN client depending on your application…(enterprises) can establish a dedicated VPN tunnel from the remote office to their corporation,” Hang said.

The VR2004 allows remote users to directly access centralized information, effectively combating malicious e-mail and attachments, Hang said, adding that instead of receiving copies of data as attachments- such as documents, spreadsheets, presentations – users directly interact with file, making the information more private and synchronized.

Whether the network needs to support two or 2000 remote users, Asante says the VR2004’s simplified administration can be deployed with minimal field support. Instead of “passing through” IPSec encrypted packets to client-based applications or drivers, the VR2004 manages all security settings for up to 253 computers in a remote site – managing passwords, authentication and communication sessions according to your custom rules. Other security features include Intrusion Detection (protection from a wide variety of attack methods including 11 forms of “denial of service”) and Advanced Firewall (perimeter defense around all entry points on your network), the company said.

The routers not only functions as a small appliance but they are also capable of “playing with the big boys” – Cisco, Synoptics – in terms of functionality, said Rick Jensen, owner of service provider IT Sentry in Newark, Calif. “What’s nice is that I can set it up and work with it without (worrying) with industrial-strength components,” Jensen said. ” Even if I’m a small potatoes guy, a virtual IT manager, I can still set it up and manage it remotely, saving my and the company’s time.”

Dan McLean, director of enterprise network services research for Toronto-based IDC Canada Ltd. noted that Canadian companies are increasingly adopting VPN and IP-based VPN technology and services, particularly as a lower-cost replacement to site-to-site communication links such as ISDN, ATM and Frame Relay. “How VPN is being positioned is in its flexibility and versatility – and of course the secured or security aspect as well,” McLean said.

Available now, pricing for the FriendlyNET VR2004 series of VPN security routers starts at US$169. The company can be found at