Nortel unveils security software, hardware

Nortel Networks Corp. Tuesday released new security hardware and software aimed speeding up encrypted traffic and improving Web server performance in enterprise networks.

The new products include an updated version of its Web OS packet inspection software, as well as a new Secure Sockets Layer Accelerator appliance and midrange versions of its Alteon Switched Firewall.

The software, Nortel’s Web OS Version 10, now comes with a Deny Filter feature. This can be used to inspect Layer 7 (or application layer) information in packets and block traffic carrying data patterns that match hacker attack methods or viruses. Like previous versions, Web OS 10 also performs multi-layer packet inspection. It runs on all Nortel Alteon switches, including the ACEdirector 3 and 4 Web switches, the ACEswitch 180e and 184 products, and the Alteon 780 data center switch. It also runs on the PassPort 8600 backbone switch equipped with a Web Switch Module, which turns a Layer 2 to 3 PassPort into a Layer 2 through 7 switch.

Upgrading to Web OS 10 on Nortel switches adds security filtering at any point in a network, from the enterprise edge to the backbone and data center, the company says.

Nortel also released the Alteon SSL Accelerator 3.0, an appliance designed to help speed up encrypted Web transactions. The SSL Accelerator 3.0 appliance sits at the edge of a Web or enterprise network data center and offloads SSL security processes, such as handshakes, key exchanges and encryption and decryption tasks, from Web servers. This offload speeds up server performance by freeing up processing power that would have gone to process SSL traffic, Nortel says.

The device supports up to 1,000 SSL connections per second. Nortel also unveiled a hardware module that can be inserted into the appliance to make it compliant with Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) I40-1, Level 3, an encryption standard required by the U.S. government for securing sensitive data.

The company also rolled out two new midrange ASFs aimed at customers looking for smaller-scale versions of its 3.2G bit/sec ASF. The midrange SFA-AD3 and SFD-308 firewall boxes can support up to 600M bit/sec of encrypted traffic throughput, or 4,000 concurrent encrypted connections. By comparison, Nortel’s top-of-the-line ASF supports a maximum capacity of 400,000 secure links.