Australian telecommunications carrier Request Broadband has released an alternative to leased-line virtual private networks (VPNs) and Internet protocol VPNs (IP VPNs).
The company has launched its network-based broadband IP VPN solution, which has been in pilot mode for the past year within multi-site private and government organisations.
Philip Sykes, Request's CEO, said companies can save 40 to 50 per cent of their present VPN costs.
"Comparing a leased-line VPN and our network-based VPN solution within, say, a company with offices in three major cities and branch offices, would result in a 40 to 50 per cent saving."
Request officials said the service is built on the company's DSL access network and ATM backbone. The network architecture for the solution can carry applications such as Internet, data and voice in separate virtual circuits, with each specified quality of service on the same physical copper pair.
Troy Kohut, senior analyst and partner at Frost & Sullivan, said that as Request's solution is provided as a managed service, and because each customer is connected to the core of its network using the company's interstate ATM for carriage and thereby bypassing the Internet, the solution offers a better level of security.
"With IP VPNs there are significant costs for the router equipment and encryption. Also, there is an enormous possibility for a security break as the link may go, for example, via the US for an IP VPN link between Brisbane and Melbourne."
Kohut said while one of the advantages of network-based VPNs is the customer's reliance on the provider's infrastructure, this could become a disadvantage.
"The disadvantage of network-based VPNs is that they potentially have slightly increased startup costs. Also of issue is that you may not have control of who the ultimate carrier is, as you may be dealing with a reseller [of broadband services]."
Kohut puts the present uptake of VPNs down to the rapid expansion of broadband.
"Broadband is growing at three to four times the rate of Internet growth. This will drive similar growth within the VPN market. VPNs will experience strong double-digit growth for the next several years.
"I don't think VPNs are the Holy Grail and answer to everything. But they do provide a solid piece of communication for SMEs and play an important role within larger companies."