Nortel announces boost to IP VPN offering

Nortel announces boost to IP VPN offering

Nortel Networks has enhanced its IP (Internet Protocol) offering to service providers, aiming to give them access to new markets.

SSL (secure sockets layer) connectivity has been added to the network-based IP VPN (virtual private network) service, allowing remote access to an IP VPN using any browser-equipped computer as well as via a Nortel Contivity VPN client, spokesman, Ben Roome, said.

The IP VPN can also now be accessed using an Ethernet connection. Customers have been asking for Ethernet connections as well as frame relay and ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode), director of next generation marketing, technical marketing, Tim Hubbard, said.

"Service providers can now offer Ethernet, frame relay and ATM services," he said. "They can run Gigabit Ethernet into the customer's main site, with maybe ATM to a branch outside London where fiber is less prevalent, and perhaps frame relay to an even smaller office, with the whole thing operating as one single VPN service. It lets a company choose the access method that's suitable for each premise."

Frame Relay interfaces have now been included in Contivity, Nortel's IP VPN client.

"Frame relay VPNs are still generating a lot of money," Hubbard said. "Customers are moving to IP VPNs, yes, but not as fast as expected. Our customers with frame relay wanted greater security and so we added the interface to Contivity.

"If a customer goes to a service provider wanting more security at the last mile of their frame relay VPN, they just need to use Contivity, connect it to the VPN, and it'll run an IP tunnel through the frame relay network to the Contivity client at the other end. It's not a mass-market product, but customers have been asking for it."

In a fourth development, Nortel has been working on its Shasta broadband service nodes, to allow MPLS (multiprotocol label switching) IP VPNs in areas where an ISP does not have a point of presence.

If a client wanted a VPN between London and a remote outpost in Russia, for example, service providers traditionally had difficulty providing it because they did not have a local presence, he said.

"But, they can use the Interne," Hubbard said. "Our Shasta nodes now support MPLS-based VPNs, so the carrier can build out from the node." MCI is about to go live with a Hybrid VPN service based on this development, he said.

"They use Contivity, and just need to put it on the customer's premises, connect to a local ISP, and Contivity will create a secure tunnel through the ISP, through the Internet and into MCI's network," Hubbard said.

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