Nortel puts focus on network security

As part of its effort to stop a continuing revenue slide, Nortel Networks Corp. last week launched two IT infrastructure security products that are part of a wider network security architecture detailed by the company.

But the security technology announcement was followed by another reduction in Nortel’s anticipated revenue for the third quarter – its second forecast cutback since late August. Brampton, Ontario-based Nortel said it now expects third-quarter business to be about 15 percent less than the US$2.77 billion it reported for this year’s second quarter.

Technology Push

Zeus Kerravala, an analyst at The Yankee Group in Boston, said Nortel’s precarious financial condition requires it to put a renewed emphasis on technology innovation over networking services aimed at voice and data carriers.

As part of what Nortel is calling its Unified Security Architecture, the company introduced an extranet management appliance that supports Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and upgraded a line of IP services gateway devices so they can handle wireless LANs and voice over IP applications.

“They obviously bolstered their product line with this announcement, making a statement that they are a legitimate technology company to pull away from their service provider focus,” Kerravala said. He noted that the Alteon SSL 410 appliance for SSL extranets is the first application-layer accelerator and content-filtering product for virtual private networks (VPN) to be offered by a large networking vendor instead of by a start-up.

The secure IP gateway, called Contivity, is already the most popular product of its kind with managers of large networks, according to Kerravala and Mark Bouchard, an analyst at Meta Group Inc. in Stamford, Conn. Now Nortel is adding secure routing technology that supports dynamic rerouting of data over a secure VPN link.

Pricing for the Alteon SSL 410 appliance starts at US$24,995, and an enterprise-class Contivity gateway costs US$7,300. Both are available now, Nortel said.