WorldCom introduces remote access client

In a move to give enterprises a better handle on their remote access services, WorldCom Inc. Wednesday introduced a slew of new software applications.

Aiming to enhance an administrator’s ability to provision and mange remote access users, improve the functionality of the client-side remote access software, and provide tools to track and capture performance data on any given connection, WorldCom introduced new versions of its remote access management software, effectively updating the client the company acquired in its 1998 purchase of CompuServe Interactive Services Inc.

Sold to large enterprises packaged with its Internet service offerings, the new WorldCom Access Manager software client includes a phone book of available dial-in numbers for cities in more than 80 countries and boasts a new user interface. The software can also now be updated automatically with software pushes from a central server.

WorldCom has also built support for its IP VPN remote service into the Access Manager software. The added functionality includes automatically finding, configuring, and launching third-party VPN clients, as well as supporting all access means including Digital Subscriber Lines (DSL), third-party cable, and later this year some of WorldCom’s wireless services.

Additionally, the company introduced an add-on software module, dubbed WorldCom Dial Analysis. Utilizing IP performance management technology developed by Visual Networks Inc. — a Rockville, Md., company that also lists Cisco Systems Inc., AT&T Corp., and Nortel Networks Corp. as customers — the software allows enterprises to access statistics captured from a dial-up session. Using agents, Visual Network’s technology tracks and records IP network performance, the speed of a connection, the history of numbers dialed, and the length of each session. The agents then report the data to a database, which WorldCom taps into with its back-end management console, ESM (Enterprise Service Manager).

WorldCom also updated ESM, making it a Web-based application that administrators can use to create and manage remote users, create groups, and prohibit users from using costly 800-numbers rather than dialing locally.

According to Ralph Montfort, director of Access Product Marketing for WorldCom, the company’s software enhancements now allow WorldCom to offer more stringent service-level agreements (SLAs) on its remote access service, dubbed Internet Dial Corporate. The new SLAs assure 95 per cent network accessibility and a log-in success rate of 90 per cent. The company also offers a second SLA that provides 99 per cent and 95 per cent success rates, respectively, for accessibility and log-in success rates.