Carrier, VPN offerings highlight ComNet

This month’s ComNet 2001 show in Washington revealed a bounty of new equipment, from carrier network gear that lets customers add and drop services on demand to enterprise VPN devices for simplifying support of small branch offices.

Unisphere introduced software that lets service providers make Web portals designed for individual customers. Via these portals, each customer is presented with a list of services they are authorized to buy and activate over the Web. Unisphere’s Service Selection Toolkit software enables providers to design their selection pages and customize them for individuals via directories that store customer profiles.

The offering also relies on directories that store profiles of the services the provider offers. Once tapped, these profiles let Unisphere’s ERX Edge Routing Switches deployed in carrier networks deliver the specified services. For instance, a customer could call for access to a network-based application, and the service profile would instruct the ERX how to tap that application for the customer. The application could be hosted by another service provider that is linked to the customer’s primary service provider.

Newcomer Corona Networks Inc. of Milpitas, Calif. used the show to debut its first product, the ISP 12000, which is an IP service switch that sports features similar to those being rolled out by Unisphere. The ISP 12000 includes service-creation software that supports customers turning up their own services via a Web connection. The ISP 12000 manages and prioritizes traffic so customers can get service-quality guarantees from their IP service provider. Corona said a single ISP 12000 can support up to 1.5 million customers.

Also at the show, RapidStream introduced its new firewall-VPN combo box, the RapidStream 8000, which the company said can support 20,000 VPN connections and 128,000 firewall sessions at the same time. The box is for large corporations that need to terminate thousands of VPN tunnels between headquarters and smaller sites as well as individual users dialing in over the Internet. It is capable of supporting traffic from an OC-3 (155M bps) connection to the Internet, eliminating the need for multiple firewalls to protect such high-speed links.

RapidStream also introduced software that simplifies setting and updating VPN security policies. Rather than updating each VPN device, managers update a centrally located RapidStream 8000 or smaller RapidStream 6000 device. As other sites make VPN connections through this central device, it enforces the latest policies.

The RapidStream 8000 comes in two models, one for companies that costs US$30,000, and one for service providers that costs US$20,000. Both models will be available in March.

Separately, Filanet will introduce the second of its small-office multifunction appliances, the InterJak 200, which supports VPN links as well as a firewall and VPN tunnel server. Later this year, the company plans to offer software that can add more functions including content filtering, e-mail, WAN traffic monitoring and remote PC backup. The InterJak 200 costs US$645 for the base model, US$795 if it supports symmetric DSL or asymmetric DSL, and US$695 if it supports ISDN. The base model must connect to a separate WAN access device or router.

The idea behind the device is to enable customers to easily set up and manage a range of applications in a small office, and then oversee them remotely. Filanet hopes service providers will latch on to the device to support bundles of services for small businesses that cannot afford the IT staff to set up and run these services.

Also at the show, Quick Eagle, formerly Digital Link, introduced the 4200T IP Access Platform, an integrated access device for service providers to support managed services. The 4200T would sit at a customer site and connect to a service provider network via one or two T-1 lines.

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