Eicon brings SafePipe line to North America

After more than a year of being on the market in Northern Europe, Montreal-based Eicon Networks Corp., a business unit of I-Data International A-S of Copenhagen, Denmark, launched its SafePipe VPN product line in North America and the United Kingdom last month.

The SafePipe VPN line, which is a VPN-based secure communications gateway, is made up of four different series – the 1000 series, the 3000 series, the 5000 series and the 6000 series.

According to Rom Mendel, product group manager, VPN, at Eicon in Copenhagen, the SafePipe products have three purposes, although one purpose has not yet been integrated into the products. SafePipe is designed to secure a company’s premises through a firewall, and to secure all data within a company’s network. Soon, the SafePipe line will also be able to secure all voice transmission through IPSec protocols.

“From one side, it’s protecting the LAN and [from the other], it’s transmitting information securely through hard encryption,” Mendel said.

The SafePipe VPN product line was developed in Copenhagen by I-Data and was originally launched in Northern Europe in January 2000.

“Only in the last few months have we seriously started to address the American market and the rest of the European market, as well as the U.K.,” Mendel said.

Each of the SafePipe VPN products is targeted at a different type of user. The SafePipe VPN 1000 is directed at small locations and satellite offices that are connected either with ISDN or DSL transmission speeds. The 3000 series is aimed at medium-sized enterprises with a T-1 connection. With the 5000 series, Eicon is going after central locations with up to 10Mbps full duplex lines. The last in the series, the 6000 line, which will launch by the end of the second quarter of 2001, is similar to the 5000 series, but also has direct voice-over-IP (VoIP) integration with a PBX, Mendel said.

The SafePipe VPN product line includes a fully configurable firewall for static and dynamic networks, Mendel said, and counter-intrusion capabilities can upset hackers’ plans for invading a corporate network. According to Mendel, there is a lock on the client that will not allow a hacker to take over as long as there is an open tunnel session.

According to Tim Smith, vice-president and chief analyst, public network infrastructure, at Gartner/ Dataquest in Stamford, Conn., the VPN market has been growing rapidly and surpassing analyst expectations every year.

“Every time we touch it and look at it and try to measure it, it tends to be bigger than we thought it was and growing a little bit faster than we thought it was,” Smith said. But there will likely be a slowdown in the growth of the market during 2001 because of the instability of the stock market, he said. Companies will be spending less on new technologies this year, and VPNs are not likely to hit a plateau just yet.

Distributed through traditional resellers, original equipment manufacturer (OEM) agreements and telecommunications companies and Internet service providers, Eicon Networks’ SafePipe VPN product line is priced at approximately US$1,500 for the 1000 series, US$3,200 for the 3000 series and US$6,5000 for the 5000 series. Pricing for the 6000 series is not available yet. For more information on Eicon, visit www.eicon.com. I-Data International can be found on the Web at www.i-datac.com.